FOLLOWING the murder of Veronica Guerin, a series of major measures were put in place by the then Fine Gael-led rainbow government to tackle organised crime. The most successful of these measures has undoubtedly been the Criminal Assets Bureau. The joint garda-revenue commissioners body was set up under the Criminal Proceeds Act 1996.
The bureau has gone to the High Court to seek confiscation orders against the assets of some of the state's bestknown gangland figures, including the Cowper Downs home owned by the nowdeceased criminal Martin 'the General' Cahill, which was seized earlier this year.
In its most recent series of High Court actions, it is expected that more than 12m will be transferred to state funds once those actions are completed.
Among those against whom cases are to be completed are John Gilligan and another member of his gang, Patrick Holland. Proceedings will also be directed against the estates of two now-deceased Irish drug dealers, Derek Dunne and Peter Mitchell.
Last November, the High Court ordered that 100,000 . . .
the proceeds of the 1997 sale of two apartments owned by Dublin criminal Brian Meehan, who is serving a life sentence for Guerin's murder . . .
should be paid over to the exchequer.
It was the first application of its kind made by CAB under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The apartments were originally seized by CAB in 1997.
Profits have been frozen in an account for the last seven years because the proceeds of crime legislation includes a provision stipulating that a sevenyear appeal period must be observed before frozen assets can be disposed of by the state.
That period expired in Meehan's case in 2004. The same provision has reportedly also expired in respect of a number of other individuals.
CAB is believed to be presently moving against the convicted Dublin drug dealer Tommy Mullen, 33, who is serving an 18-year prison term in England for his part in trafficking heroin.
CAB seized a Dublin home owned by Mullen and sold it for around 200,000. Profit from the sale will be transferred to state funds after the pending CAB High Court application.
Assets of about 120,000 belonging to the dead drug dealer Derek Dunne will also be transferred, as will 125,000 of drug dealer Peter Mitchell, who is also now dead. The yacht of a Dutch sailor, Rennie Couts, was seized in Galway in 1997. It has already been sold at auction, realising a profit of 100,000 for CAB.
Despite frequent calls that the money sourced through CAB seizures should be ringfenced into the provision of anti-drugs measures in local communities worst affected by drug crime, this has not been sanctioned by the Department of Finance.
June 12, 2005