288. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the widespread availability of cocaine, including crack cocaine in many communities; and if he will report on the Garda strategy to address this matter. [39791/18]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I wish to advise the Deputy that I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to this matter and I will further advise in this regard when the report is to hand.
In the interim, the Deputy may be interested in the Forensic Science Ireland Annual Report for 2017 which is available on their website It is stated in the report that the percentage of cases analysed containing powder, usually cocaine, increased from 25% in 2016 to 30% in 2017.
The report also states that no major shift in purity has been noted to date in 2018. A full report on purity levels will be issued later this year.
The continued disruption of the supply of all illicit drugs remains a priority for An Garda Síochána and the other state agencies tasked with responsibilities in this regard. An Garda Síochána remains resolute in its determination to act against those within society who pose a significant threat to the welfare and well-being of our citizens and the communities they serve. A core focus of the work carried out by An Garda Síochána is aimed at tackling drugs and organised crime.