The proceeds of crime will be used to fund community safety projects under a new Government initiative, Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond has said.
“Today’s announcement that the proceeds of crime seized by state agencies will be channelled into community safety programmes is a hugely positive step in making communities safer all across Ireland.
“Earlier this year I submitted a Private Members Motion to Dáil Eireann calling on the Government to legislate for the ring-fencing of seized cash, and after working closely with Minister McEntee on this I am happy to see the Community Safety Innovation Fund take shape.
“Cash seized by state agencies has been on the rise for some years now, and rather than return this money to the exchequer for general spending, channelling it to the communities that need it the most to help them prevent crime from taking place will allow us to use the proceeds of crime to make our communities safer.
“Under this plan, a Community Safety Innovation Fund will be established from which local community safety partnerships can apply for funding in order to bring together residents, community representatives, councillors, businesses and state services such as the Gardai to design and implement local community safety plans.
“This is truly a community led programme that will allow those who know the area best to work together to make it a safer place for all residents,” Deputy Richmond said.
Three pilot Community Safety Partnerships are being established in Longford, Waterford and Dublin’s north inner city, after which partnerships will be established in every local authority.
“Organised crime has had a hugely detrimental impact on communities all over Ireland, tearing families apart and causing irreparable damage.
“I have been working on this issue with my colleague, Councillor Kenneth Egan, who knows first-hand of the value of community-focussed services and the impact they can have on the lives of young people, through his work in his community.
“While our Gardai and the Criminal Assets Bureau do stellar work in ensuring that crime does not pay, this is a crucial step in preventing young people from turning to crime in the first instance.
“Through this programme, we are not only reaffirming our commitment to supporting communities that have been devastated by organised crime, but we are also protecting generations to come,” Deputy Richmond said.