Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 108 - Drug seizures [3279/05]

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 108 - Drug seizures [3279/05]. (03 Feb 2005)

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108. Cecilia Keaveney asked the Minister for Finance the number of dogs attached to the customs drug team; if he will report on the effectiveness of the use of such dogs; the plans to expand the scheme. [3279/05]

Minister for Finance (Mr. Cowen): I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that their customs service currently has nine drug detector dog teams in operation at strategic locations throughout the country. These locations are Cork, Dublin Port — two teams, Dublin Airport — two teams, Rosslare, Sligo, Shannon and Waterford. The dogs are trained to detect cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and amphetamines. One team is also trained in the detection of ecstasy and one also has the additional capability to detect tobacco products. Two of the dogs are specifically trained to operate in passive “sit and stare” mode.

The dog teams are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year and while they are principally deployed at the above-mentioned locations, they are used elsewhere as required. They also provide support to the Garda Síochána, on request. Additionally they help in promoting the role of Revenue’s customs service in drugs law enforcement by participating at relevant public events. Revenue’s customs dog teams assisted in the detection of drug seizures with street values in excess of €6.3 million during 2004 and in excess of €4 million in 2003. The number of individual drug seizures made in 2004 as a result of indications by the dog teams was 186. In 2003 the figure was 101 seizures. The Revenue Commissioners believe the detector dog teams are a valuable resource in the battle to combat would-be drug smugglers and there are plans to expand the current number of teams from nine to 11 and to provide for a capability to detect cash.

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