Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Department of Justice and Equality
134. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the response he plans to take on the recent findings of the report by the EU Drugs Agency and Europol that violence and intimidation by drug gangs has severely affected communities here and had a major impact on persons, families, communities and the functioning of local services and agencies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50464/19]
135. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the response he plans to take in relation to the recent findings of the report by the EU Drugs Agency and Europol that a new phenomenon of drugs supply networks has emerged here and in which criminal gangs based in major cities have expanded their selling operations to provincial towns and almost exclusively supply heroin and crack cocaine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50465/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 134 and 135 together.
Government policy in relation to drug and alcohol misuse is set out in Ireland’s National Drug Strategy, ‘Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery’ 2017-2025. This represents a whole-of-Government response to the problem of drug and alcohol use in Ireland.
My Department and associated agencies continue to work closely with statutory, community and voluntary partners in tackling the problem of drug misuse under the drug policy framework established under the Strategy.
As the Deputy will appreciate, Minister for Health Simon Harris TD and Minister of State with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy Catherine Byrne TD have primary responsibility in relation to the strategy.
My Department has responsibility in a number of actions, including keeping drugs legislation under review as the joint lead agency with the Department of Health.
I can assure the Deputy that tackling the sale and supply of drugs is a key priority for the Government and An Garda Síochána. A core focus of the work carried out by An Garda Síochána is aimed at tackling drugs and organised crime. The rollout of the new operating model of An Garda Síochána, meeting a key commitment in "A Policing Service for the Future", will further increase the number and visibility of front-line Gardaí to combat criminal activity including tackling drugs.
I have asked the Garda Commissioner for additional information in relation to the matter raised and as soon as it is received I will write directly to the Deputy.