The scourge of organised criminality in Ireland must be tackled head on - Sinn Féin
Speaking today in the Dáil on the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Bill, Sinn Féin spokesperson on justice, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD said that the scourge of organised criminality in Ireland was devastating many disadvantaged communities and costing the exchequer hundreds of millions of euro each year.
He praised the efforts of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) and called for the finances or assets seized from certain categories of criminals such as drug dealers to be ring-fenced and reinvested in the most affected communities and into Drugs Task Forces.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said: “For too long, many of our communities have been scourged by organised criminality and criminal gangs.
“Over the years we have had instances where governments have been slow to tackle this and unwittingly allowed criminals to operate all too easily.
“We look at Dublin in the 80s in the throes of a massive drug epidemic, Limerick, a city where people were afraid to even visit so oft was it referred to as ‘stab city’ and the spate of gangland killings on our streets here in Dublin and elsewhere that are on-going”.
He continued: “The Exchequer is losing €861 million annually because of illegal black market activity and theft.
“Last year Retail Ireland reported that 12% of all diesel sold in Ireland is illegal, 19 oil laundries have been detected and closed and 690,000 litres of oil have been seized. These are massive figures which are having a serious effect on our economy and also hurting the communities in which they are taking place. Almost 25% of the Irish cigarette market is sourced from the black market. In 2011, 109 million illegal cigarettes, with a value of €45.9 million, were seized.
This scourge must be tackled head on.”
He concluded: “I commend the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) on their significant successes. CAB is a vital instrument in combatting gangs going after what these people hold most dearly, their money.
“The Criminal Assets Bureau has now seized more than €133million of illicit profits from criminal activity since its foundation in 1996, according to its latest figures. This is very much welcomed but Sinn Féin would like to see some changes to how this money is used.
“My party has made a number of attempts to bring forward a Private Members Bill which would ensure that the money seized is ring fenced and reinvested in, the communities worst affected by this type of activity.
“It should be pumped into Drugs Task Forces and community projects supporting communities worst affected by these criminal gangs.”