I propose to take Questions Nos. 149 and 157 together.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the number of organised criminal groups is determined each year using the European Union definition of organised crime to compile the EU Situation Report on Organised Crime. The most recently completed situation report identified 17 major organised crime groups in this country. Approximately half of these groups operate in Dublin but the Deputy will appreciate that the position in relation to gangland activity including the composition of various groups does not remain static.
The Garda authorities have further informed me in relation to the activities of the Criminal Assets Bureau and the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation that it is not the practice or policy to comment on particular operations carried out by these and other national units.
However, the Deputy will be aware that these units continue to target successfully the activities of criminals, including those who may be affiliated to organised crime groups. For example, I am informed by the Garda authorities that they can indicate that more than a dozen organised crime groups were investigated in 2002. The Garda Síochána arrest and charge individuals in accordance with the law but do not categorise such arrests by reference to so-called "gangland" activity.