Speaking in the Dáil the Sinn Féin spokesperson on justice and equality Jonathan O’Brien TD called on the Government to amend the Proceeds of Crime Acts to ensure that monies seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau can be put back in to communities that are worst affected by drugs.
The Cork North Central TD said;
“Around €14 million was seized solely under the proceeds of crime legislation during 2006-2010. We have asked the Government on numerous occasions to retain this money for community development purposes. This is separate to the money that is seized by CAB for revenue and social welfare fraud. It is the money taken from drug dealers and criminals who are profiting from the communities they are decimating.
“It is Sinn Féin’s view that this money should be set aside for communities that are worst affected by the drugs trade, for example for use as a funding mechanism for the local drugs task forces short-to-medium term projects.
“The Government has cut community funding in general and the current legislation allows for all monies collected by the Criminal Assets Bureau to be returned to the Exchequer in accordance with the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Acts 1996 and 2005. The funds are then paid into the Government’s Central Fund, from which the Government draws for expenditure. If the Government had the political will to fund these much needed community organisations they could very easily do it by amending the Proceeds of Crime Acts.
“I am calling on the government to introduce this mechanism to fund Local Drugs Task Forces and community groups.”