Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Department of Justice and Equality
34. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in dealing with criminal gangland activity; the extent to which drug-associated feud activists are being successfully pursued nationally and internationally; the extent to which co-operation exists between An Garda Síochána, Europol and Interpol in this context; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27315/16]
I can assure the Deputy that targeting organised crime activity and those involved is an ongoing priority for the Government and An Garda Síochána.
An Garda Síochána is tackling such activity through a range of targeted measures designed to disrupt and dismantle the operations of criminal organisations.
This involves targeting serious criminals and organised criminal groups on a number of fronts and across all geographical locations, including through the use of focused intelligence led operations by Garda specialist units including the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, the National Economic Crime Bureau and the National Bureau of Criminal Investigations and supported, as required, by the Security and Intelligence Section. These specialist units also work closely with the Criminal Assets Bureau in targeting persons involved in such criminality.
All of these units operate under the umbrella of An Garda Síochána’s Special Crimes Operations Unit and are continuing to achieve commendable successes in targeting criminal groups as well as the ongoing drugs and firearms seized.
The Deputy will also be aware of the very significant measures which have been introduced in response to the appalling gangland feuding activity which has manifested itself both here and abroad. These measures include the provision of significant additional resources to An Garda Síochána, strengthened legislative measures targeting the proceeds of crime, the establishment of a dedicated Garda Armed Support Unit in Dublin and the establishment of a new Garda Special Crime Task Force.
We are already seeing significant results being achieved on foot of these measures including those of An Garda Síochána's Operation Hybrid. As at 4 September, this Operation has resulted in 40 arrests and 5 charges brought in connection with the recent shootings, a number of firearms being seized and over 8,000 lines of enquiry conducted. Furthermore, in excess of 11,500 high visibility checkpoints involving armed support have been implemented and a significant amount of CCTV footage, mobile phone traffic, and forensic evidence is also being examined as part of ongoing investigations.
As I have already publicly stated, most recently on the occasion of the very effective joint policing operation involving An Garda Síochána and their Spanish colleagues, the Garda authorities and the Government are absolutely determined that Irish criminals will not escape justice by fleeing this jurisdiction or by seeking to conduct their criminal activities from abroad. Recent operational activities clearly demonstrate the close liaison An Garda Síochána has in place with other law enforcement agencies internationally.