Ennis and Clare people who believe there are members of their community who don’t have any apparent means to support their expensive or lavish lifestyle can now contact the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) on 01 6663266 and CAB will carry out a detailed fraud profile on the individual(s). You now have a confidential avenue to report your suspicions of dealing in drugs, insurance fraud, extortion or other organised criminal activity. Separately in Clare, Garda has recently committed to doubling the number of Garda working in its drug squad in the new year.
Drug lords and crime gang members tend to flaunt their wealth within their communities to cement their status. This behaviour in towns like Ennis is now being brought to the attention of CAB on a confidential basis by members of the public which then leads to investigations, seizures of proceeds of crime and often convictions.
CAB is an independent statutory body that is made up of multi-agency partnership and was established by the Criminal Assets Bureau Act, 1996. CAB is responsible for carrying out investigations into the suspected proceeds of criminal conduct and take appropriate action to deprive or deny them the assets gained through illegal activity.
While CAB has made the headlines for making seizures in Dublin and other cities for gang and drug money, the unit has increased their staff by 20% to assist in the seizure of ill-gotten gains by local crime and drug lords around the country, not just in cities. The legislation is now in place which has reduced the value of unexplained assets that CAB is allowed to seize without the need of going to Court from €13,000 to €5,000 to deal with significant criminals in provincial towns like Ennis.
I met and spoke to the head of CAB, Detective Chief Supt. Pat Clavin and I’m encouraged that CAB confiscated materials worth €14 million last year and that the number of seizures nearly tripled. CAB has become more active outside the cities with at least ten investigations currently underway in Ennis and Clare.
There currently eight trained Garda in County Clare as local fraud/ asset profilers who work with other fraud profilers trained in Revenue, Social Welfare and who report to CAB HQ in Dublin who have powers to act. These officials are trained to identify unexplained wealth and gather information for CAB to investigate fraud or organised crimes.
With trained local fraud profilers in County Clare the public have an opportunity to help CAB and the Garda deal with organised crime in particular drug dealing. If you suspect anyone of criminal activity in your community, CAB relies on and acts on information from you or your community without requiring them to give evidence in court. After an investigation, CAB officers can obtain a court order to seize unexplained money or assets above €5000.
Drug activity and organised crime lead to 45% of the serious crime reported in county Clare occurring in Ennis District. I understand that there have been 24 assaults causing harm and 73 minor assaults in the last nine months in Ennis District which are an indication of the increased negative impact of the level of drug-related issues, organised crime and petty criminals. I’m repeating my call at the upcoming Ennis Municipal District meeting for the re-establishment of an Ennis Joint Police Committee or Forum which would enable the community, business and local politicians to closely partner with Garda and CAB to deal with the crime trend and drugs issues that are particular to Ennis and surrounding district.