It would be contrary to standard public accounting procedures to transfer particular revenues to particular purposes. All revenues are taken in by the Exchequer and such allocations as are necessary are made through the normal Estimates process. Of course such moneys as are necessary for purposes of the kind referred to by the Deputy will be provided in the normal way through relevant Votes.
The primary purpose of the provisions contained in the Proceeds of Crime Act, 1996, and the Criminal Justice Act, 1994, in relation to criminal assets is to deprive criminals of the assets gained or acquired through criminal activity. Obviously any assets gained by the State can be utilised for any form of public spending.
Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, 1996, at least seven years must elapse from the time property is subject of an interlocutory order under section 3 of the Act before the High Court may make an order that will result in funds accruing to the Exchequer. The State, therefore, cannot depend on using such assets to fund any project until at least seven years has elapsed, i.e., from now until 2003.
Under the Criminal Justice Act, 1994, which I as Minister brought into operation, assets can be frozen upon arrest of a person and confiscated as a result of prosecution. This procedure is clearly more likely to yield assets to the State much sooner and clearly I would like to see the realisation of criminal assets being used for the criminal justice system.