Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
National Drugs Strategy
Question 796: To ask the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the success of the dial to stop drug dealing scheme in Athlone with reference to the number of calls made to the hot-line, the number of calls that were deemed useful to An Garda Síochána in the detection and arrest of drug dealers in Athlone; and his views on the importance of having a continuous service available. [39167/09]
John Curran (Minister of State, Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs; Minister of State, Department of Education and Science; Minister of State with special responsibility for Integration and Community, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Dublin Mid West, Fianna Fail)
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As the Deputy is aware, the Dial to Stop Drug Dealing Campaign was launched on September 30th 2008. Since then, over 5,300 calls have been made to the phone line and over 1,450 information reports relayed to the Gardaí as a result.
The Gardaí have confirmed that there have been 17 reports received to date in relation to Westmeath, of which 9 relate to Athlone. All of those reports contained sufficient information to launch a preliminary investigation and all investigations are ongoing.
The Deputy should note that calls are spread right across the country including areas that have not directly run a campaign. This highlights the fact that the confidential number used in the campaign is open to all to use regardless of the area one comes from.
The campaign was originally due to cease operation in September of this year, but due to the positive outcomes being achieved, I decided to continue it with further funding from my Department.