Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – National security [2791/24].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – National security [2791/24]. (20 Feb 2024)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2024...

1. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Taoiseach if he will develop a national security strategy and functioning security agency to deal with future security events. [2791/24]…

Deputy Peadar Tóibín: From drugs, human trafficking and cyberattacks, this country is seriously vulnerable with regard to security. A headline in the Irish Examiner stated today that Ireland is being used by cartels as a staging post for drugs sales in the country. Tonight, drugs will be consumed in pretty much nearly every second pub across the country. There is no doubt that they may be consumed in the walls of the Dáil and the Seanad as well.

There is a shocking trend emerging where the parents of people who run up drug debts are being targeted with violence and arson if they do not pay off those drug debts. Aontú councillor Jim Codd in Rosslare called for an investigation into unknown wealth among certain individuals, and he too was threatened when he spoke out publicly. How many personnel do we have working in the harbours across the country to stop drugs from entering the country?

On the issue of cybersecurity, there is a ludicrous situation where this country had a National Cyber Security Centre, which is operating out of no physical building, with no director and an annual budget less than the cost of running the PR for the Taoiseach's office. What has been the cost to the State of that cyberattack financially, and in human life?

An Ceann Comhairle: If the Deputy has any evidence of narcotics being consumed on this premises, I would be very glad if he would bring it to my attention. Deputy Marc Ó Cathasaigh is next.


Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú: We obviously need an infrastructure to be able to make a determination with regard to the threats that we face. Again, we are talking about hybrid and cyberthreats, and we are talking right down to what was mentioned earlier with regard to the plague that is organised drug crime in the State.


Leo Varadkar, The Taoiseach: I thank the Deputies for their contributions. I want to put on the record that the Irish authorities have been very successful in recent months in stopping drugs being smuggled into the country. I want to recognise the contribution of An Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces and the Revenue Commissioners, which work in consort with counterparts in other parts of Europe and around the world. By acting on intelligence, they have stopped a lot of illegal drugs coming into the country in recent months. They deserve our compliments for that.

It seems that when drug smuggling is not stopped, it is seen as Ireland being a soft touch or being a weak underbelly. When drugs are interdicted, people seem to make the same case. I think there is very good evidence that An Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces and the Revenue Commissioners are doing a very good job in stopping illegal drugs coming into the country. We must always recognise that it will never be possible to stop it all. Only a proportion of it ever can be stopped. The US, with its enormous resources, power and equipment, has not been able to stop large amounts of drugs coming into its territory so there are clear limitations there.

Repository Staff Only: item control page