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Justice Minister ‘very interested’ in drug cash reinvestment in communities

O'Dowd McEntee
Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd and new Minister for Justice Helen McEntee. Photo Credits: Kathy Gilroy-Barry / Flickr Creative Commons License.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee says she is “very interested” in the idea that proceeds of drug crime could be reinvested back into the communities effected, an suggestion that has garnered widespread support from politicians and policing authorities in Louth.

The newly appointed Justice Minister was responding to a query from Fergus O’Dowd TD on Thursday, during a sitting of Dáil Éireann in the Convention Centre in Dublin. The Deputy had committed to bringing the matter to Minister McEntee as recently as Monday afternoon, during the July meeting of the Joint Policing Committee forum.

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The matter had initially been raised by Independent councillor Paddy McQuillan, who queried where seized cash went. The answer was the Department of Finance – but he suggested services such as The Red Door or the Family Addiction Support Network could benefit by receiving much needed financial assistance.

“Our Chief Superintendent said over €1 million in cash has been seized recently in Louth, from the proceeds from the sale of drugs,” Deputy O’Dowd said today. “That’s a huge amount for the smallest county in Louth. If that is repeated across the country, there’s a huge volume and massive amount of money being made.

“When it is seized, I believe that the proceeds of crime, particularly from drug crime, would go into a special fund to fight the effects of crime in our communities.”

Minister McEntee expressed her support for such a provision, citing support services in the effected areas. “This is something I will be very interested in progressing in seeing how we can do so,” she said.

The idea was supported by Chief Superintendent for Louth Christy Mangan on Monday. He told the JPC meeting, “It would have a very positive effect on the public. It would be fantastic, a positive story.” The Chief Supt firmly reiterated his support for the idea during a JPC forum for the Dundalk district held on Tuesday.

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