I call on the Government to define the relationship between the Garda drug squad and the national drugs team. At present the work of the Garda drugs squad is being hampered by the conflict of mandate between it and the national drugs team. That is unacceptable.
It is farcical that members of the Garda drugs squad, on the trail of a drug smuggler, are apprehended by the national drugs team and hampered from doing their work. Consequently, those who receive the drugs are sometimes not apprehended. Both organisations have a mandate to wipe out drug dealers. To date, because of the lack of clearly defined guidelines, each group is working to its own agenda.
The problem is that the Customs officials see it as their function to confiscate illegal substances while the Garda drug squad must trace the footsteps of smugglers past the point of entry to establish the identity and operating bases of drug barons. The Minister for Justice and the Minister for Finance must sort out this farcical situation. There is evidence that Ireland is becoming a major drug smuggling area since the dismantling of European customs frontiers under the Single European Act. The present confusion a very serious issue and the Government must resolve it as a matter of urgency.
The Seanad adjourned at 10.20 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 21 April 1994.