147. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the extent to which adequate resources remain available to An Garda Síochána to maximise the fight against organised crime and the activities of criminal gangs involved in drug trafficking; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51653/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Tackling criminal gang activity is a key priority for the Government and an ongoing priority for An Garda Síochána. The Government has supported An Garda Síochána in addressing the threat from organised crime gangs through the introduction of a range of legislative measures.
This includes the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which was approved for drafting in September 2020 and will provide, among other matters, for an increase in the penalty for conspiracy to murder from 10 years to life imprisonment.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is responsible by law for the management of An Garda Síochána, including operational matters and deployment of resources. As Minister, I have no responsibility for these matters.
An Garda Síochána continues to develop and implement strategies to dismantle and disrupt criminal networks, utilising advanced analytical and intelligence methods. Gardaí target serious criminals and organised criminal groups through the use of focused intelligence led operations by specialist units and agencies such as the Organised Crime Unit, the Criminal Assets Bureau and the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
The Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) is having significant success in disrupting the supply of illicit drugs by organised crime groups. Its work is supported by Divisional Drugs Units nationwide and by all Gardaí working in local communities, while working closely with international law enforcement partners.
It is also important to note that the response to the issue of drug dealing is complex and extends far beyond policing. This broader, health led response is key to the National Drugs and Alcohol Strategy, ‘Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery’, which is being led by my colleague Minister Frank Feighan. Gardaí work closely with local authorities, HSE, NGOs, community groups and other state agencies to tackle the problems of drug addiction and abuse.