Updated: 28/09/17 : 05:31:19Printable Version
at Sligo port over the past four years came under scrutiny in the Dáil this week.
But Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Finance, would not be drawn on the specifics of searches in Sligo.
He cited ''operational reasons'' to explain why the Revenue authorities would not be providing any details.
Local Fine Gael TD Tony McLoughlin wanted to know how many drugs searches, using the sniffer dog, had happened and the number of boats, vessels and trawlers that were searched by a customs drug dog unit at Sligo port in each of the years from 2014 to 2016 and to date in 2017He sought the same info re alleged unlawful drugs imports along the western seaboard by dealers.
Minister Donohoe replied, "I am advised by Revenue that a broad range of data, intelligence and analytics is used to evaluate risk and to identify and target sea-going vessels for specific interventions, including rummage and other searches. The specific intervention, if any, in any particular instance will be informed by the risk assessment and the nature of any risk determined on foot of the assessment.
"For operational reasons, I am advised by Revenue that they will not be providing details on the number or nature of interventions undertaken by them on foot of their risk assessments for specific locations."
"All relevant arrivals and traffic is subject to risk assessment and subsequent intervention where necessary. I am assured by Revenue that they carry out regular and ongoing monitoring of the western coastline, including patrols and physical checks at ports, harbours and piers.
"Revenue continues to actively engage with the coastal community to increase their awareness of the need to report any suspicious activity, suspicious vessels or movements in the area.
"I am satisfied with the risk-focused approach adopted by Revenue," concluded the minister.