Calls made for creation of localised Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB)

By Mary Dennehy

CALLS have been made for the creation of a more localised Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), which would address the wealth generated by lower-level drug dealers operating in communities such as Tallaght and Clondalkin.

The need for “mini CAB” was discussed at a public meeting on drug-related intimidation last week in the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel, which was organised by the South Dublin Joint Policing Committee.

The seminar, which was attended by members of An Garda Siochana, the HSE, the community sector, local authority staff and the general public, aimed to reflect on progress made in addressing the issue of drug-related intimidation – while gauging the impact intimidation is having on families and communities and identifying what can be done in the future.

Drug intimidation seminar

However, addressing drug-related intimidation, which is a constant across communities in South Dublin County, has its difficulties because, as discussed in the seminar, incidents are “significantly under-reported” – leaving families with the burden of trying to pay off a loved-one’s drug debt or, in some cases, leaving their homes due to threats.

Those present at the seminar saw the creation of “mini CABS” as a way of targeting drug dealers in local communities, which in turn could reduce the instances of drug dealing and drug use – which could assist in reducing incidents of intimidation.

According to a com-munity worker present at the meeting: “One of the first things we have to do is look at the amount of money being made by drug dealers – which in some communities is creating a feeling that this is something to aspire to and looks attractive to young lads coming up.

“These dealers start off small and grow their wealth and if there was a “mini CABS” to go after that money from early on, it could have positive implications for communities and help deter more young people from going down the same road.”

Established in 1996, CAB’s remit is to investigate the suspected proceeds of criminal activity and, while going after more middle-ranking criminals may not yield the same financial returns, it could address the concerns of communities and act as a preventative measure.

The seminar also raised the need to address the “normalisation” of drugs, with recreational drug use impacting heavily on communities, alongside the reappointment of a designated Drugs Minister.

The seminar also noted the impact intimidation is having on people’s mental health and that mothers and women are often the victims of these threats, which has similarities to the impact of domestic violence.

Looking at what is causing problems of drug misuse, and subsequently drug-related intimidation, in disadvantaged and Traveller communities was also raised as a priority.

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