Sinn Féin bill to reinvest proceeds seized by CAB in disadvantaged communities passes first stage

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Cllr Maurice Quinlivan

A SINN Féin bill that would see money seized by CAB put back into disadvantaged communities passed first stage in the Dáil today.

Speaking on the issue Limerick Sinn Féin TD, Maurice Quinlivan said: 

“The vast majority of the money seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau has been extracted from the communities in which the criminals have been active. Too often these are the most disadvantaged communities in the state and often suffer the most from criminal activity.  These assets must be returned to these communities. These communities, some of them in my own constituency, have been devastated by the impact of crime and it is only right that assets seized in the course of these CAB operations are re-invested in them.”

The Limerick TD continued: 

“Sinn Féin has always advocated that any money seized by CAB should be put back into communities to build resilience and to enhance existing community services. My colleague, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, first raised this over 10 years ago. I had a motion to this effect when I was on Limerick Council in 2014.”

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“In 2019 the Criminal Assets Bureau seized almost €65 million in cash and assets. This is a huge increase on previous years and is very welcome news. These seizures send an important signal to those considering nefarious activities. Crime doesn’t pay. Parts of Limerick have been devastated by the impact of crime. Too many lives have been lost, too many families have been torn apart by drug use over the years.”

“If passed, this bill would require the Minister for Finance to carry out a review of the financial supports required for disadvantaged communities affected by crime, and to reinvest the money generated through the seizure of assets by CAB in those communities. This should be done with a view to alleviating the impact of crime and enhancing crime prevention measures. If enacted I believe this bill could be a game changer for many communities.”

“This money invested in our communities needs to be on top of allocated resources, and not seen as a replacement. Building community resilience is vital. Drug tasks forces, family resource centres, youth organisations, unemployment services, sports clubs and others who work in disadvantaged areas should benefit from this fund. In Limerick for example, the drugs and alcohol forum have seen no increase in funding for over 10 years.

Deputy Quinlivan continued: 

 “Some working-class areas of Limerick have been absolutely ravaged with this problem. As recently as this week, the Gardaí have made significant seizures of drugs and money in Limerick. We need to ensure that money seized by CAB goes to the right places, such as addiction services and interventions in areas affected.”

“I am fed up with criminal gangs forcing Limerick parents, grandparents and siblings to pay off debts that end up being significantly higher than the initial money when the debt started. I am fed up with the disdain of these criminals and how they flaunt their wealth while holding vibrant communities’ hostage.”

 “These gangs can replace the runners and low-level dealers when they are charged, but it is much harder for them to replace and maintain the assets and earnings that they gain from their criminal activities.”