Justice | Progress in combatting drug baron activities with international cooperation
To ask the Minister for Justice the extent of the progress nationally and in conjunction with other jurisdictions globally, in combatting the activities of so-called drug barons; the extent to which international cooperation now plays an important part in this battle; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
I want to assure the Deputy that I am acutely conscious of the devastating impact that illegal drugs and drug dealing have on communities across the country.
Serious and organised crime does not respect international borders, and Ireland is working closely with other States to fight organised crime and bring criminals to justice. The challenges we face are by definition transnational, and Ireland welcomes all efforts to develop a joined-up EU approach to confront them.
Given the global nature of the drugs trade, international law enforcement co-operation remains a key element in the overall response. Cooperation with international law enforcement agencies remains a key element of the Garda response in view of the global nature of the drugs trade, with Gardaí working closely with relevant law enforcement agencies such as INTERPOL and Europol to target drug trafficking.
I wish to acknowledge the superb and painstaking work of the Gardaí in harnessing an international coalition of support to tackle the criminality associated with Organised Crime Groups. The enforcement of sanctions demonstrates the value and power of international co-operation in tackling organised crime and sends a very clear message that this type of criminality will not go unnoticed or unpunished.
An Garda Síochána tackles organised criminal activity through a range of targeted measures designed to disrupt and dismantle the operations of criminal organisations. To the greatest extent possible, these measures include the use of advanced analytical and intelligence methodologies.
The additional resources allocated to AGS in recent years have enabled the Garda Commissioner to assign extra resources to the specialist units involved in tackling organised crime, including the Armed Support Unit, Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).
The Deputy may also wish to be aware that my colleague Minister James Browne represented Ireland in Lisbon at the EU-Middle East North Africa Ministerial Conference earlier this week, with a focus on strategic police partnership working towards a trustful security cooperation.
Minister Browne also visited the Maritime Analysis and Operation Center-Narcotics (MAOC-N), a European Law Enforcement Agency, which develops drug related intelligence, and coordinates the international operational response to the threat posed by the trafficking of illicit drugs in the maritime and air domains, especially transatlantic traffic. This EU Project was established by an international treaty signed by then seven EU Member States in 2007, including Ireland.
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