Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (294)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

294. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of legal professionals seconded to the Criminal Assets Bureau in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44389/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is a multi-agency statutory body established under the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996. The Bureau’s remit is to target a person's assets, wherever situated, which derive, or are suspected to derive, directly or indirectly, from criminal conduct. Since its inception, the Bureau has been at the forefront of fighting organised crime in this jurisdiction and disrupting the activities of criminal gangs by depriving them of ill-gotten assets.

The Bureau is widely regarded as a best practice model in the context of combating organised crime. It works closely with law enforcement bodies at national and international levels and continues to relentlessly pursue the illicit proceeds of organised crime activity. The actions of the Bureau send a strong message to criminals and to local communities that profiting from crime will not be tolerated.

Reflecting the Government's commitment to ensure that the Bureau is adequately resourced, the CAB’s staffing and budgetary allocation has increased significantly in recent years. Since 2016, the Bureau's staffing resources have increased from 71 to its current level of 85, with staff numbers due to rise to 91 during this year.

Similarly, the Bureau's budgetary allocation has gone up from €7.042 million in 2016 to €8.603m in 2019. The Bureau's budget for 2020 has been increased by a further €0.5 million, to a total of €9.1 million.

A Bureau Legal Officer is appointed to the Bureau by the Minister to assist the Bureau with its objectives and functions. Other than this statutory post, I am advised that there are no legal professionals formally seconded to the Criminal Assets Bureau and rather that the Chief State Solicitor's Office provides the necessary legal services to the Bureau in the operation of its role.

Question No. 295 answered with Question No. 292.