Written Answers - Drug-Related Crime.

Wednesday, 16 February 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 597 No. 6

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  236.  Mr. Durkan   Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform  Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell   the number of known major drug dealers of Irish origin currently operating outside the country; the action taken to apprehend them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5276/05]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell  I am informed by the Garda authorities that they are aware of the identity of a number of Irish citizens who currently reside outside this jurisdiction and are believed to be involved in the sale and distribution of illicit drugs. Many of these individuals choose to reside abroad for a variety of reasons not least of which are the ongoing activities of the Garda Síochána in counteracting the sale and supply of illicit drugs within the State.

Although the individuals reside outside this jurisdiction, the Garda Síochána, along with law enforcement authorities in other jurisdictions, continues to target the activities of these individuals, both within and outside this jurisdiction.

The principal ways through which this is achieved is as follows: conducting targeted operations against individuals and organisations [1849]operating within this jurisdiction with known linkages to international drug traffickers, including Irish nationals residing abroad; exchanging strategic and operation intelligence with foreign law enforcement agencies, including Europol and Interpol, in accordance with legislation and operational protocols; collaboration with international law enforcement agencies conducting investigations within this jurisdiction, in accordance with legislation governing mutual assistance in criminal matters; and conducting investigations at the behest of international law enforcement agencies in accordance with international agreements governing mutual assistance in criminal matters.

In order to facilitate the exchange of information and intelligence on criminal matters including drug trafficking, the Garda Síochána has liaison officers posted in a number of locations, namely, the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Spain and France as well as Europol and Interpol.

In June 2004, the President signed into law the Criminal Justice (Joint Investigation Teams) Act 2004, which provides for the competent authorities of two or more member states to set up by mutual agreement teams to carry out criminal investigations with a cross-border dimension. This Act, which commenced on 1 October 2004, further enhances law enforcement agencies within member states to carry out international criminal investigations.

  237.  Mr. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform  Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell   if the Garda is receiving adequate co-operation from all other European and non-European police forces in the fight against drugs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5277/05]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell  I am informed by the Garda authorities that international co-operation between law enforcement agencies is achieved in a number of ways including: the exchange of strategic intelligence on the activities and modus operandi of criminal networks involved in the international trafficking of controlled drugs; the exchange of operational intelligence on the activities of criminal organisations involved in drug distribution; the conducting of investigations within the State at the request of foreign law enforcement agencies in accordance with legislation governing mutual assistance in criminal matters; and requesting the assistance of foreign jurisdictions in conducting investigations on behalf of the Irish State in accordance with international agreements governing mutual assistance in criminal matters.

In order to facilitate co-operation between law enforcement agencies, the Garda Síochána has assigned liaison officers in the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Europol and Interpol. In addition, the Garda Síochána has conducted a number of EU funded programmes [1850]designed to enhance co-operation between law enforcement agencies throughout the European Union.

In June 2004, the President signed into law the Criminal Justice (Joint Investigation Teams) Act 2004, which provides for the competent authorities of two or more member states to set up, by mutual agreement, teams to carry out criminal investigations with a cross-border dimension. This Act, which commenced on 1 October 2004, further strengthens co-operation between the Garda Síochána and police forces from other jurisdictions.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that to date the co-operation they receive from other European and non-European police forces in the fight against drugs is both positive and beneficial.


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