714. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice if she had been appraised of the work undertaken by An Garda Síochána in respect of an operation (details supplied); the length of time the operation has been in place; the arrests undertaken to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9708/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is by law responsible for the management and administration of An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters and deployment of resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in these decisions. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use.
In 2020, the Commissioner directed targeted activity to combat drug use nationwide, focusing particularly on street level drug dealing and local drug dealers, under the auspices of Operation Tara.
Operation Tara is a National priority for An Garda Síochána with a particular focus to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking networks impacting on our communities and to prosecute those involved, at every level.
Under Operation Tara the following activities have been undertaken and remain active:
- Dedicated Drug Units in each Garda Division.
- Involvement of Regular Units and Community Policing Units in combatting drug related issues in local communities.
- Co-ordination of the Operation under Special Crime Operations.
- Provision of national oversight of Divisional Drug Units by Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau.
- Provision of a structured response to Drugs Related Intimidation.
- Provision of awareness and education to local communities.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the DMR North Central resource commitment to Operation Tara involves 2 Sergeants and 16 Gardaí dedicated to policing drug related activity. Local Garda management liaise with specialist sections within An Garda Síochána, such as Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, Armed Support Unit etc.
Gardaí are involved in promoting awareness and educating the local community on drug related issues. On 16 February 2021, a Sergeant attached to the Divisional Drug Unit provided a presentation to the North Inner City Drugs and Alcohol Task Force in relation to drugs awareness.
The Garda authorities advise that there have been 135 arrests associated with Operation Tara in the DMR North Central Division, together with the seizure of €689,375 worth of illegal narcotics in 2019 and €1,084,424 in 2020.