Dáil Éireann - Volume 474 - 11 February, 1997
Written Answers. - Naval Service Role.
Mr. Callely Mr. Callely
30. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Defence the role of the Naval Service in assisting to combat the importation of illegal drugs; the equipment available to assist the Naval Service; the submissions, if any, he has received in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3405/97]
Mr. E. Byrne Mr. E. Byrne
34. Mr. E. Byrne asked the Minister for Defence the total number of drugs interdiction actions in which the Naval Service was involved in 1996; the proposals, if any, he has to further improve the Naval Services capabilities in this  regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3646/97]
Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett) Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett)
Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett): I propose to take Questions No. 30 and 34 together.
Responsibility for the prevention of the illegal importation of drugs rests primarily with the Garda Síochána and the Revenue Commissioners. The Defence Forces, including the Naval Service, respond to requests from the civil authorities for assistance, including assistance in combating the illegal importation of drugs, and they will continue to do so. It is not the practice for operational and security reasons to give details of such requests.
Existing resources have enabled the Naval Service to respond effectively to requests for assistance from the civil authorities. Government measures to improve law enforcement in relation to drugs, including the establishment of a joint task force involving the gardaí, the Customs Service and the Naval Service, will help to maximise the effective use of Naval Service resources in combating the illegal importation of drugs. The designation of Naval Service personnel as enforcement officers under the Criminal Justice Act 1994 also serves to increase the role and effectiveness of the Naval Service in this area. The question of the equipment required by the Naval Service to fulfil the roles assigned to it, including the interdiction of illegal drugs is kept under continual review.
Dáil Éireann 474 Written Answers. Naval Service Role.