Thursday, 26 February 2004

Questions (98)

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

97 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of persons involved in organised crime or deemed to be benefiting from such activities in the greater Dublin area; the extent to which any or all of them have been arrested and charged in the past two years; if each or all of them have holiday homes or residential accommodation outside the State; the extent to which their operations including drugs and firearms dealings have been curtailed in the same period; the number of times such persons have travelled outside the State in this time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6383/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the policy of tackling organised criminal groups through targeted intelligence-led operations has yielded excellent results during the past year. This covered several areas of criminal activities, including armed robberies and trafficking in illicit drugs.

To this end the co-ordination and tasking of the individual specialised units attached to national support services and crime and security branch, together with the utilisation of local units in consultation with regional assistant commissioners, has proven very effective.

There is continual analysis of criminal intelligence by specialised units which allows for a varied Garda response to particular trends in criminal activity.

As I indicated to the Deputy in my reply to Questions Nos. 149 and 157 on 29 January, the most recently completed EU Situation Report on Organised Crime identified 17 major crime groups in this country. Approximately half of these groups operate in Dublin but, by its nature, the position in regard to gangland activity, including the composition of various groups, does not remain static.

I am further informed by the Garda authorities that to disclose any aspect of operational intelligence runs the risk of inhibiting its effectiveness. It is not the practice or policy of the Garda Síochána to comment on particular operations carried out by specialist national units.

When intelligence-led operations against organised criminal groups are mounted by the Garda Síochána arrests are made where the circumstances warrant such a course of action.