Thursday, 19 November 2015
I thank the Minister of State for his reply. My question was on the number of personnel dedicated to this issue but a breakdown could not be provided. The Minister of State is well used to getting evasive answers. Saying that 2,000 personnel in Revenue are involved is something I could have checked on Google. How many of those personnel are dedicated to this? Identifying the people in communities who are involved in drug smuggling is long-term, slow and strategic work. Drug smugglers do not just arrive on a boat one day and unload. A bit like how Revenue combats smuggling, they do so by intelligence-led surveillance. They spot vulnerabilities, identify the most suitable locations for smuggling and pick the time and date. We need specific resources dedicated to combating smuggling. There are 2,000 people in Revenue, but most of them are collecting our taxes. Let us be honest, in that they are not involved in anti-smuggling.