A Bill introduced by Sinn Féin TDs Mark Ward and Ruairí Ó Murchú that would see money seized by CAB put back into disadvantaged will be debated at second stage in the Dáil later today.
Teachta Ward is calling for cross party support for the Proceeds of Crime (Investment in Disadvantaged Communities) (Amendment) Bill 2021.
Teachta Ward said:
“The vast majority of the money seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau has been ripped from the communities in which criminals have been most active. It must therefore be returned to these communities.
“I represent Dublin Mid West and grew up in North Clondalkin. Parts of my constituency has been torn apart from drug use and criminality over the years.
“It is no coincidence that some of our most disadvantaged communities are the communities mostly affected by crime.
“Years of cuts and stagnation in funding for community-based services by successive governments have eroded community resilience.
“Sinn Féin has always advocated that any money seized by CAB should be put back into communities to rebuild resilience and to enhance existing community services.
“In response to a parliamentary question I raised, it was confirmed that CAB seized almost €65 million in cash and assets 2019. This is a huge increase on previous years and is very welcome news.
“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, with a view to alleviating the impact of crime and enhancing crime prevention measures.
“It is vitally important that additional money invested in our communities needs to be on top of allocated resources, and not seen as a replacement to normal funding channels.
“It does not happen by accident that most of the money seized by CAB originates in areas that are highly disadvantaged.
“Family resource centres, youth organisations, unemployment services, sports clubs, drug task forces and others who work in disadvantaged areas should benefit from this fund.
“I have had positive soundings from government parties in the past when I have raised this issue in the Dáil, and I am calling for cross-party support later today.”