Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Bill Passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas
· CAB to Get Power to Seize Assets
20 July 2016
The Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Dáil today following its recent passage by the Seanad. It is one of a range of additional measures to tackle organised crime announced just a few weeks ago by the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald.
This Bill will provide Criminal Assets Bureau Officers with the power to seize property which they suspect to be the proceeds of crime and detain it for 24 hours. The Chief Bureau Officer will be empowered to authorise its detention for a further 21 days. This period will allow CAB to prepare an application to the High Court for an interim restraining order and prevent the disposal or dissipation of the property in the meantime.
The other key focus of the Bill is the threshold value of property which can be pursued by CAB under the Proceeds of Crime Act 1996. It is to be reduced from €13,000 to €5,000. The provision is being introduced in support of the work of the Bureau in targeting the middle value proceeds of crime held by those involved in organised crime.
Speaking as the Bill was passed Frances Fitzgerald TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality said, "We are giving the Criminal Assets Bureau the powers they need to move quickly to seize the proceeds of crime, and to target the middle value assets that were beyond their reach up to now."
This legislation is just one part of the Government's comprehensive package of measures to target organised crime. On 8 June, the Government approved an additional allocation of €55 million to An Garda Síochána for the purpose tackling organised crime. These additional monies are made available based on information from Garda management regarding the level of funding required to maintain the necessary policing response to the current situation on an ongoing basis. This will allow for:
• concentrated policing targeting gang related crime;
• the continued intensive and strategic targeting of burglaries and related crime through ongoing support for Operation Thor; and
• continued support for measures against terrorism.
Underpinning all of these measures is the Government’s intention to increase Garda numbers to 15,000 by way of recruitment into An Garda Síochána. A new Armed Support Unit is being established as well as a Special Crime Task Force. The Taoiseach is also establishing a broader Task Force to address socio-economic and community development issues in the North Inner City.
The Tánaiste said, "The Government will do everything in its power to tackle crime effectively. We are investing resources and new powers in the Garda Síochána while supporting local communities most affected by crime".