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Question

125. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the degree to which An Garda Síochána has direct access to Interpol and Europol in connection with its efforts to combat internationally organised crime, including drug related crime; if the necessary resources are readily available in these circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42725/18]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy is aware, the manner in which the resources of the Garda Síochána are deployed, is solely a matter for the Garda Commissioner and his management team and I, as Minister, have no direct role in this regard. However, I can inform the Deputy that the Garda Síochána participate in joint and multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional investigations, within the European Union and world-wide. Successful investigations, prosecutions and disruptions of criminal activities have been and continue to be achieved through these parallel investigations. The Garda Síochána also participate in training through CEPOL, Interpol, Europol and actively encourage international police cooperation in the fight against organised crime. The Garda Síochána proactively participate in international seminars that assist in identifying emerging crime trends.
It is through the work of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and the dedicated Drug Units operating across the jurisdiction that the Garda Síochána target those involved in the illicit sale and supply of drugs. The specific strategies put in place by An Garda Síochána include the operation of targeted intelligence-led initiatives. The Divisional Drug Units liaise closely with the Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau, the Revenue Commissioners and the Defence Forces (Navy). The Garda Síochána also work in partnership with other Law Enforcement Agencies in the area of drugs including the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the National Crime Agency (UK), Europol, Interpol and the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre – Narcotics (MAOC-N).
The Deputy will be aware that the Government has dedicated very significant resources to support An Garda Síochána in tackling the activities of criminal gangs, including mobile criminal gangs, that seek to target our communities. Indeed, Budget '19 will see an increase in the Garda budget from €1.65 billion to €1.76 billion, an increase of €110 million.