104. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the degree to which all reports of drug peddling by members of criminal gangs and amateurs at their behest continue to be followed up and prosecutions taken; if a sample of such cases over the past five year period and in respect of different regions will illustrate this; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40782/16]
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I can advise the Deputy that the Policing Plan of An Garda Síochána sets out the continued commitment of An Garda Síochána to pro-actively target groups and individuals engaged in drug crime. In this regard An Garda Síochána's National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau continues to lead out the policing strategy for tackling drugs by both demand reduction and supply reduction strategies.
The Bureau continues to work closely with District and Divisional Drug Units nationwide in tackling drug supply reduction at local level which includes the investigation of reported drug crime within communities.
In addition, An Garda Síochána continues to develop and implement operations and strategies aimed at targeting, dismantling and disrupting criminal networks, utilising advanced analytical and intelligence methodologies. Multi-disciplinary approaches are also utilised to ensure the activities of individuals and groups involved in drug trafficking are effectively targeted, including by the use of the Proceeds of Crimes legislation, money-laundering legislation and the powers of the Criminal Assets Bureau.
Further to this, An Garda Síochána also has in place a number of strategic partnerships both nationally and internationally including with the Irish Customs Service, the Health Products Regulatory Authority, the Irish Naval Service, Europol, Interpol and the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre Narcotics based in Lisbon. An Garda Síochána also has a particularly close working relationship with the Police Service of Northern Ireland in respect of policing, preventing and detecting the sale, supply, importation and distribution of drugs on the island of Ireland.
I am further advised by the Garda authorities that in addition to the considerable volume of drugs which has been seized to date in 2016, that significant successes continue to be made in the disruption of organised crime groups through the arrest and prosecution of persons involved in the illegal drugs trade in this State.
Finally, further detailed information with regard to drug seizures made by An Garda Síochána is available in the Annual Reports of An Garda Síochána which can be accessed at www.garda.ie. In addition, data on the number of controlled drug offences and their disposal is provided in the Central Statistics Office's published crime statistics (www.cso.ie) and the Annual Reports of the Courts Service (www.courts.ie).