Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the increased use of cocaine; if he has met the Garda Commissioner to discuss same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24761/19]
113. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he is considering a campaign regarding the use and dangers of cocaine and its consequences on criminal gangs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24762/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 112 and 113 together.
I am aware that An Garda Síochána is reporting increased seizures of cocaine, as well as evidence of increased circulation of the drug, which is an unfortunate and worrying development. A related cause for concern is the involvement of violent organised crime gangs in the drugs trade. An Garda Síochána are pursuing a number of strategies to tackle drug trafficking by organised criminal gangs including:
- gathering intelligence on those involved in the distribution of drugs
- conducting targeted operations on criminal networks based on intelligence
- working with the Criminal Assets Bureau to seize the assets of criminals and disrupt their activities and
- working in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, both within and outside the jurisdiction.
As the Deputy is aware, I meet the Garda Commissioner and his senior team regularly to discuss issues of mutual concern and such meetings have taken place in recent weeks to discuss the recent rise in drug-related crime in the Drogheda area as well as in Dublin city. In this regard I very much welcome the increased Garda resources which have been allocated by the Commissioner to the Louth Division and the Dublin Metropolitan Region as part of the strategy to address organised criminality, arising from the supply of illegal drugs.