The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is the multi-agency statutory body whose staff are drawn from An Garda Síochána, the Office of the Revenue Commissioners (including Customs), the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Justice.
It has been rightly described by the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, as the one agency that has been to the forefront of fighting organised crime in this jurisdiction – ‘disrupting the activities of criminal gangs through the removal of their ill-gotten gains – and has been recognised as a world leader in asset investigations, tracing and forfeiture.’
Internationally, as the Bureau itself notes, it continues to liaise and conduct investigations with law enforcement and judicial authorities throughout Europe and worldwide and is effective at the international level as the designated Asset Recovery Office (ARO) in the Republic of Ireland.
You can see in the image below the total value of assets and cash seized by the Bureau for the years 2016-2020.
The large increase in 2019 was due to the granting of a freezing order over cryptocurrency to the value of €53 million.
The image below meanwhile shows the total monies returned to the Exchequer through various CAB seizures including through taxes collected and social welfare fraud recoveries for the same years 2016 – 2020:
You would imagine then that given the extraordinary work that CAB do and the international standing that it has rightly attained that increasing the number of Garda staff would have been a priority in some shape or form.
However, as we can see below, there has been no increase whatsoever in the number of Detective Inspectors since 2018. That number remains at a paltry 2.
Likewise, there has been no increase since 2018 in Detective Superintendents (1) assigned to CAB, nor has there been a rise in Detective Sergeants (9).
There has been a rise in the number of Detective Garda’s assigned, rising from 34 to in 2018 to 40 in 2022. An increase of just 6.
One could argue I suppose that given the success rate of CAB, it is succeeding just fine with the current crop of 53 Garda Staff assigned to it. But if that were the case then there would be no need for competitions to be underway to fill vacancies across all four agencies-which there is.
It’s funny though isn’t it. I mean, when was the last time you heard Minister McEntee talk about the need to ramp up the Government’s effort to tackle the kind of crime that CAB addresses? I can’t recall a single instance. What I can recall is the Minister’s endless echoing of NGO talking points around ‘hate crime’ and whatever else the ICCL or the National Women’s Council are focused on these days.