Skip to content

Justice | To ask the Minister for Justice the degree to which she and her Department remain alert to the increasing number of incidents of drug related crime

To ask the Minister for Justice the degree to which she and her Department remain alert to the increasing number of incidents of drug related crime; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


The Government is acutely aware of the substantial and ongoing damage that drug dealing has on communities across the country. Organised criminal activity, including drug dealing, represents a serious threat to community safety.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Department of Health leads on Government policy in the area of drugs, and this policy is guided by the national drugs and alcohol strategy, ‘Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery – a health led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2025’. This strategy represents a whole-of-government response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland.

The Government’s strategic approach is health-led to reduce demand while balancing this with reducing access to illegal drugs. This approach aims to reduce the numbers criminalised for the possession of drugs for personal use by diverting these people to health and diversion treatments to address their habits and behaviours. 

While the strategy aims to support the most vulnerable people who use drugs, it is also matched with strong enforcement measures across Government to tackle the supply of illegal drugs.

The below table includes controlled drug offences data obtained from the Central Statistics Office database and I welcome the decrease of approximately 13% in recorded offences in 2021 compared to 2020. When analysing this data, it is important to be cognisant of the impact of Covid-19 and be vigilant and mindful of the potential opportunities for criminal activity that the opening up of our society may offer.  

CSO Recorded Crime Offences Under Reservation20172018201920202021
Controlled drug offences16,75918,27721,31323,17520,140
Importation of drugs2115282123
Cultivation or manufacture of drugs247199192379246
Possession of drugs for sale or supply3,8424,1374,7856,0415,099
Possession of drugs for personal use12,15713,38415,59415,77613,944
Other drug offences492542714958828

The Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) is having significant success in disrupting drug trafficking and the supply of illicit drugs by organised crime groups. I am advised by the Garda authorities that in 2021, GNDOCB seized almost €64m worth of illicit drugs and over €5.6m in cash, a significant increase from 2019, when there were over €21m worth of illicit drugs and over €2.5m in cash seized. 

GNDOCB’s work is supported by Divisional Drugs Units nationwide, and by all Gardaí working in local communities. GNDOCB also works closely and productively with international law enforcement partners. Gardaí continue to work closely with local authorities, the HSE, NGOs, community groups and other State agencies to tackle the problems of drug addiction and abuse.

As the Deputy may be aware, drug-related intimidation is a very serious issue and the GNDOCB has worked with the National Family Support Network to develop ‘the Drug Related Intimidation Reporting Programme’ to respond to the needs of drug users and family members experiencing drug-related intimidation. 

The Commissioner has tasked an Inspector in every Garda Division to respond to the issue of drug related intimidation.  People seeking assistance may contact their local Inspector confidentially who will provide practical personal security and safety information and advice in relation to particular threats or instances of intimidation, along with information on appropriate drug support services for the individual in the family who is accruing drug debts, while also providing information regarding the process involved in making a formal complaint. 

On 2 July 2021, An Garda Síochána commenced an enhanced Operation Tara, which has a strong focus on tackling street-level dealing throughout rural and urban Ireland. The focus of Operation Tara is to disrupt, dismantle and prosecute drug trafficking networks, at all levels – international, national and local – involved in the importation, distribution, cultivation, production, local sale and supply of controlled drugs.

I am further informed by the Garda authorities that Operation Fógra was launched by An Garda Síochána in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) as part of Operation Tara to combat drug-related intimidation in the DMR region. 

The objectives of Operation Fógra are to support communities, increase frontline awareness of drug-related intimidation and enhance collaboration. A Senior Investigating Officer is appointed to all incidents identified as having a drug-related intimidation motive.

Recent successes of Operation Tara and Operation Fógra include the seizure of an estimated €1.12 million of suspected cannabis and €420,000 of suspected cocaine in Counties Kildare and Meath, and the arrest and charging of three individuals on 17 May in relation to drug-related intimidation.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: