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Written Answers - Organised Crime

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 92.  Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  if his attention has been drawn to the fact that no person to date has been convicted under gangland legislation, specifically of the provisions contained in the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 in regard to organised criminal activity; and if he plans to introduce any new initiatives to tackle organised crime. [6545/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I have previously indicated to the House my intention to keep under review the legislative framework underpinning the State’s response to organised crime to see whether any further improvements could be made to render it more effective.

Further to this, my Department is currently undertaking a specific review of the provisions of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009, to which the Deputy refers, to see if its provisions can be strengthened.

Figures available with regard to the operation of the 2009 Act up to 31st January 2012 indicate that, although no convictions have been recorded, the legislation has been used on 160 occasions where arrests have been made relating to organised crime activity and eight individuals have been charged under the provisions.

Two persons had been charged under Section 71A of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 as inserted by section 5 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 (directing a criminal organisation) and six persons charged under Section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 as inserted by section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 (participating etc in organised crime).

I can assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána continues to vigorously tackle organised crime through undertaking a range of activities designed to disrupt and dismantle the operations of criminal organisations.

[361]The Garda Síochána Policing Plan 2012 sets out the key actions in tackling organised crime for the year ahead, which includes a focus on drug trafficking, e-crime, financial crime, and the targeting of organised gangs through a number of measures, including the use of intelligence and analysis to inform operations against organised crime groups.

With regard to forthcoming legislative proposals, I shall be bringing forward proposals for changes in the Proceeds of Crime legislation to increase the powers available to the Criminal Assets Bureau. Financial gain will always be a focus of organised criminal activity and measures that target the proceeds of such activity are key to tackling such operations.

Where there is an identified requirement for additional legislative provisions to further enhance existing provisions tackling organised crime, I will not hesitate in bringing forward proposals.

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