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Question

77. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the volume and value of heroin seizures in Cork city and county for each of the years 2014, 2015 and to date in 2016; and the details of the response to this growing problem. [40647/16]

Answer

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I attach for the Deputy's information below the available data with regard to the volume and value of heroin seized by An Garda Síochána in the Cork City, Cork North and Cork West Garda Divisions for 2014 and 2015 (as at 30 September 2015). I am informed that more up to date data is not currently available however I will write further to the Deputy in this regard.
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 organised crime activity including drug crime. In this regard the National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau continues to lead out the policing strategy for tackling drugs by demand reduction and supply reduction strategies. The Bureau continues its policy of working with Divisional Drug Units nationwide in tackling supply reduction at local level.
Furthermore multi-disciplinary approaches are utilised to ensure that those involved are effectively targeted including through the use of the Proceeds of Crime legislation, money laundering legislation and the powers of the Criminal Assets Bureau. This integrated approach adopts best practice in implementing a co-ordinated use of Garda resources and in utilising available criminal law to its fullest extent in tackling all forms of organised crime, including drug trafficking.
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.
Finally as you may be aware, the overall response to the problem of drug misuse is set out in the National Drugs Strategy for the period 2009-2016. The Strategy, for which Government responsibility falls under the remit of my colleague Minister of State Catherine Byrne T.D., at the Department of Health, provides a co-ordinated and comprehensive response to the issue and is very much founded on a partnership approach.
The Department of Health is currently leading the development of a new Strategy for the period after 2016 so as to continue to address the complex problem of substance misuse in a comprehensive and integrated manner and work is well advanced in this regard.

Table 1- Garda Seizures of diamorphine (heroin)
Cork City, Cork North and Cork West Garda Divisions
2014 to 2015 end Q3 - 30 September 2015 *
Year Grams Value
2014  937.6 €140,642
2015 (end Q 3) 1205.7 €180,852

* The statistics provided are based on operational data and are provisional and subject to change. It is advised that the quantities of drugs tabulated in the table above are provided by Forensic Science Ireland on the basis of records maintained by the laboratory relating to quantities of drugs analysed at the laboratory. The estimated street value of the quantities of drugs analysed, as provided by the Forensic Science Ireland to An Garda Síochána, are calculated on the basis of current market value of drugs at street level in this jurisdiction, which are subject of regular review by the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.