Call for cash seized from local crime to be put back into Dundalk communities

Michelle O'Keeffe

Reporter:

Michelle O'Keeffe

Email:

michelle.okeeffe@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Call for cash seized from local crime to be put back into Dundalk communities

Sinn Féin TDs Ruairí Ó Murchú and Mark Ward have submitted The Proceeds of Crime (Investment in Disadvantaged Communities) Bill 2021.

This legislation will see money seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau put back into the communities that have been most affected by crime.

Dundalk deputy Ó Murchú said the money seized by CAB must be put back into the communities in which the criminals and drug dealers were operating in.

The Dundalk TD said: “Sinn Féin has always advocated that any money seized by CAB should be put back into communities to tackle disadvantage and also to fund prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services in the fight against drugs.

“The Proceeds of Crime (Investment in Disadvantaged Communities) Bill 2021 will require the Minister for Finance to carry out a review of the financial supports required for disadvantaged communities affected by crime and reinvest the money generated through the seizure of assets by the Criminal Assets Bureau in those communities, with a view to alleviating the impact of crime and enhancing crime prevention measures.

“The greatest difficulty for groups working to deal with addiction and its impact on communities is securing guaranteed multi-annual funding that allows them to properly strategically develop. An example of this would be the Family Addiction Support Network (FASN) in Dundalk.

“This bill is not a replacement for proper funding.

"It is a natural justice bill that will seek to improve lives within communities impacted by crime, particularly drug crime, with funding seized from criminals.

“We are hopeful of cross-party support when it reaches the floor of the Oireachtas.

"This issue has been up by TDs and councillors across the State, particularly in Louth, where the JPCs have written to the Minister for Justice about similar legislation.

“And while I am very pleased to be involved in the tabling of this bill, it is just one element of what is needed to address the scourge of drugs in our communities.

“We also need far more support for organisations working in communities to mitigate the impact of drugs, along with a youth justice system that’s fit for purpose and the convening, as soon as is practicable, of the Citizens’ Assembly on drugs, as promised in the Programme for Government.”