350. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which drug trafficking continues; if specific provisions can be made to make a serious impact on this life-destroying activity; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42917/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Drug trafficking has long been recognised as one of the most profitable of criminal activities. Targeting drug trafficking and supply has therefore remained a priority for law enforcement authorities worldwide.
The Policing Plan of An Garda Síochána sets out the continued commitment of An Garda Síochána to pro-actively target groups and individuals engaged in criminal activity. In this regard multi-disciplinary approaches are utilised to ensure that those involved are effectively targeted including through the use of the Proceeds of Crime legislation, money laundering legislation and the powers of the Criminal Assets Bureau.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that, in line with the Policing Plan, the National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau continues to lead out the policing strategy for tackling drugs by demand reduction and supply reduction strategies. In this regard the Bureau continues its policy of working with Divisional Drug Units nationwide in tackling supply reduction at local level.
This integrated approach adopts best practice in implementing a co-ordinated use of Garda resources and in utilising available criminal law to its fullest extent in tackling all forms of organised crime, including drug trafficking.
An Garda Siochána also has in place a number of strategic partnerships both nationally and internationally including with the Irish Customs Service, the Health Products Regulatory Authority, the Irish Naval Service, Europol, Interpol and the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre Narcotics based in Lisbon.
An Garda Síochána continues to record significant successes in intercepting substantial quantities of controlled drugs and in bringing those involved before the Courts.
More broadly, the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016 seeks to address the harm caused to individuals and society by drug misuse by tackling the problem in a comprehensive and integrated way by implementing a pillar based approach which incorporates a wide range of drug supply reduction, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and research measures.