I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. Tackling serious crime, including drug trafficking and the supply of illicit drugs, are key priorities for the Government. As he will be aware, there is strong ongoing co-operation between An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland, PSNI. The cross-Border joint agency task force, JATF, was established under the 2015 Fresh Start agreement to bring a concerted and enhanced effort to tackle cross-jurisdictional organised crime. The task force is led by senior officers from An Garda Síochána, Revenue, the PSNI and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. The Criminal Assets Bureau, CAB, and the National Crime Agency are also involved as needed in operational activity.
Tackling drug-related crime by disrupting criminal groups and targeting their money is among the top priorities for the JATF. At a recent virtual meeting with my Northern Ireland counterpart, justice minister Naomi Long, on 26 May, we were briefed by officers from An Garda Síochána and the PSNI who updated us on the work of the task force. They highlighted the practical value in the continuing high level of co-operation and operational activity between the agencies in tackling drug crime, as well as rural crime, financial crime, trafficking in human beings including children, excise fraud and organised immigration crime.
I can further inform the Deputy that on 10 June, the two police services announced a number of arrests and the seizure of significant quantities of controlled substances and cash, arising from the work of the JATF. It is also noteworthy that on 1 July An Garda Síochána initiated Operation Tara, an enhanced national anti-drugs operation with a strong focus on tackling street-level dealing in cities, towns and villages across the country based on intelligence and the latest crime trends.