393. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason the value of illegal drugs destroyed has dropped each year since 2010, from €14,930,279.80 in 2010 to €404,153 in 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13095/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am informed by the Garda authorities that the volume and value of controlled drugs destroyed by An Garda Síochána varies year on year depending on a number of factors.
In circumstances where criminal proceedings have been initiated the legal destruction of controlled drugs can only take place when such proceedings have reached finality and an appropriate order has been made by the courts. It is also the case that significant seizures of drugs can, on their own, make up a significant volume or value of drugs destroyed in any given year and this can cause a variance to arise from one year to the next.
I am further informed by the Garda authorities that An Garda Síochána has also carried out a review in relation to the handling, storage and destruction of controlled drugs. This has meant that quantities of drugs authorised for destruction have been held back while new systems are put in place. Any noted decline in the quantity of drugs destroyed in recent years should therefore be redressed in the future.
Finally, I am assured by the Garda authorities that every item of controlled drugs seized by An Garda Síochána is appropriately recorded, securely stored and destroyed under stringent authorisation guidelines.