A Fine Gael TD is calling on the Government to ensure that monies seized from criminal gangs are ploughed back into communities worst impacted by crime.
Figures released to Dublin Rathdown TD Deputy Neale Richmond reveal that cash seized by An Garda Siochana and the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) have increased by 561% since 2015.
Deputy Richmond said, “An Garda Siochana and the CAB do stellar work in ensuring that crime does not pay by locating and seizing the proceeds of crime, including cash, drugs and valuable goods.
“As confirmed to me in a Parliamentary Question to the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, a total of €31,621,994 was seized by the Gardai and CAB between 2015-2021.
“€839,605 was seized in 2015, rising to €5,551,383 in 2021 – marking a staggering increase of 561%.
“Additionally, a total of €10,424,637 has been returned to the exchequer through seized goods from criminal gangs between 2015-2020, including €1,838,507 in 2020.
“While previously these seized funds would have been returned to the exchequer and not served a specific purpose, the newly launched Community Safety Innovation Fund now will use these seized funds to finance community led programmes to deter young people from turning to crime in the first instance.
“The fund was given initial financial support of €2 million in Budget 2022 to run initial pilot programmes in Longford, Waterford and Dublin’s north inner city.
“These pilot programmes are important and must be launched as soon as possible with a view to expand the fund nationally with an increase in funding.
“Community-led programmes are effective in tackling crime and we owe it to those communities who have been devastated by crime to help protect the next generations.
“Through community-led programmes such as youth mentorships, education programmes and diversion services, Scotland saw their homicides reduce by more than 50%.
“Our authorities work tirelessly to keep criminal monies out of the hands of criminals – we must do all we can to put this money to good use,” Deputy Richmond concluded.