Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú, Sinn Fein Louth
Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has warmly welcomed the clarification about the role of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) at Monday’s joint meeting of the Louth Policing Committees.
Speaking after a private meeting with representatives of CAB, Cllr. Ó Murchú said he was pleased with the accessibility of the bureau outlined at the meeting by Chief Superintendent Patrick Clavin.
Cllr Ó Murchú said: “We have a serious problem with organised drug gangs across this county and in particular, Dundalk and Drogheda. The community suffers terribly from the drug dealing, intimidation, arson and the violence of these gangs.
"Their extortionate means of drug debt recovery from the families of addicts backed up with brutality and terror is a huge issue. CAB has operated over the years as a serious tool against organised crime and I welcome any measures that can be taken.
He said: “I was particularly pleased to note that the threshold of assets that can be seized by CAB has been lowered to €5,000 which means that so-called ‘small-time drug dealers’ can also be targeted.”
Councillor Ó Murchú was also concerned about the figures presented which revealed that Louth has the third highest number of CAB targets in the state after the greater Dublin area and Limerick, which obviously has serious implications for Garda resources in the county.
The Louth Cllr continued: “To hear Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan frankly admit that he told the Justice Minister as recently as Monday that the budget he has this year is ‘grossly insufficient’ to do what he has to do, is truly shocking and is something that I have already raised with the Sinn Féin team in Leinster House.
“I would hope that we could see the Criminal Assets Bureau operating locally in co-operation with the Gardaí. Successful Garda arrest operations can be difficult in a ‘subcontracted criminal enterprise’ where main players use vulnerable people as their ‘cut outs’ and keep themselves ‘clean’. Many drug dealers are living cash rich and many without intricate money laundering systems and so we would hope this weak point could be used by CAB to disrupt, impact and possibly shut down some of their operations.
“I am also encouraged by the fact the CAB was able to give several reassurances that not only will they take the information they receive seriously but that no-one will have to go to court to give evidence.”
CAB can be contacted on email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 01 6663266