Wednesday, 5 May 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Garda Síochána engages in a number of activities to address the issue of drug distribution and criminal networks involved in this activity. These actions concentrate on both the supply and demand for drugs as well as the national and international aspects of drug trafficking. Initiatives undertaken by the Garda Síochána operate along a number of underlying principles including: targeting criminal networks operating at both a national and international level involved in the sale and distribution of illegal drugs; focusing on combating all aspects of the illegal drug trade to include not only the distribution of drugs but also the structures and systems which support this activity; maintaining an intelligence oriented approach in the targeting and dismantling of drug distribution networks; and depriving criminal networks of the financial proceeds emanating from drug trafficking.
Responsibility for co-ordinating the Garda Síochána’s activities in this area is vested with Assistant Commissioner, national support services, who is responsible for a number of national units including the Garda national drugs unit, the Criminal Assets Bureau, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation. These units have direct responsibility for addressing organised crime within the State.
The Garda Síochána work in close co-operation with the Revenue authorities and engage in joint investigations which, in many instances, have resulted in the apprehension of individuals and the seizure of substantial quantities of drugs. At a local level, divisional and district units are established with the specific remit of addressing the activities of individuals involved in the sale and distribution of drugs within local communities. In addition, the Garda Síochána regularly undertake specific operations targeting drug distribution at a street level and in places of entertainment. These operations — Cleanstreet and Nightcap — have been extremely successful in targeting individuals involved in drug distribution. I have been assured by the Garda authorities that they will continue, in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies and in co-operation with their international partners, to pursue initiatives aimed at having a significant impact on drug distribution networks.
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