An Garda Síochána yesterady commenced an enhanced national anti-drugs strategy which it has codenamed Operation Tara.
The goal of Operation Tara is to protect communities from the scourge of illegal drugs in line with An Garda Siochana’s mission of Keeping People Safe.
The focus of Operation Tara is to disrupt, dismantle and prosecute drug trafficking networks, at all levels – international, national, local – involved in the importation, distribution, cultivation, production, local sale and supply of controlled drugs.
Under Operation Tara, individuals and groups involved in the drug trade will be the target of enforcement activity based on intelligence and the latest crime trends.
Throughout An Garda Síochána’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic Garda Commissioner Drew Harris highlighted that resources assigned to specialist units, including drugs units, were not affected by emergency measures.
During 2020 An Garda Síochána has resourced Divisional Drugs Units in all Garda Divisions in preparation for Operation Tara. As of 31st May 2021, 321 members are full time assigned to Divisional Drug Units across every Garda Division.
The uninterrupted policing of organised crime at a national level and the considerable increase in the size of Divisional Drug Units has seen significant amounts of drugs seized and arrests made.
During 2020 An Garda Síochána seized in excess of:
• 137.8kg Cocaine €9.5million
• 368.6kg Cannabis €7.3 million
• 41.4kg Diamorphine €5.8 million
• 28.4kg/ 32,000 Amphetamines/ Tablets (MDMA/ LSD/ Ecstacy) €1.1 million
• 471,400 Benzodiazepine tablets €750,000
Speaking at Garda Headquarters Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said, “The term ‘recreational’ drug use is a dangerous misnomer that hides the irreparable damage that illegal and dangerous drugs cause to individuals and society. A current generation is suffering from and will be lost to the menace of this illegal drug use.
“Every person who continues to buy and consume illegal drugs inflicts untold damage to individuals under coercive control from organised drug gangs in Ireland, is putting money directly in the pockets of drug cartels, and is responsible for the damage done to communities here and abroad from drugs.”
“Under Operation Tara there will be a particular focus on street level dealing. Not only is this dealing devastating for the individual buying the drugs and their loved ones, it is also corrosive for local communities to have to witness it.”
“It is no longer the case that such dealing is confined to our cities and urban areas, it is now happening in towns and villages around the country. Operation Tara will tackle this scourge.”
In addition, An Garda Síochána has a well-established Drug Related Intimidation Reporting Programme. Each Garda Division has selected and appointed an Inspector with the specific responsibility for the implementation of the Drug Related Intimidation Reporting Programme.
Implementing this programme in conjunction with Community Support Organisations, An Garda Síochána will deal with any complaint of drug related intimidation or advice sought in relation to this issue with the utmost safety and confidentiality. Any victim of drug intimidation who contacts us will be provided with security advice and support.