CAB money 'must be used for devastated communities'

Dirty money seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau must be used to rebuild communities devastated by crime, it was urged today.

Dirty money seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau must be used to rebuild communities devastated by crime, it was urged today.

Labour Party justice spokesman Joe Costello said the ill-gotten millions secured by the officers of CAB should be used to combat the scourge of drugs and crime.

“The CAB secured a high court decision awarding them over €2m from a Cork drug dealer,” Mr Costello said. “This money must be returned to the very communities who suffer so much crime due to our drugs scourge.”

The bureau, which is headed by Detective Chief Supt Felix McKenna, have seized millions of euro since its establishment in 1996 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

CAB is a multi-bureau agency staffed by officers from the gardai, the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs.

The CAB detectives obtain a freezing order on money or property which were the proceeds of crime.

Under the 1996 Act the assets must remain unused for seven years and after that period the court may make a disposal order to direct the property be transferred to the minister or another appropriate person.

“As the money becomes unfrozen it should under no circumstances disappear into the Department of Finance but should be ring-fenced for redistribution in the communities from which it was misappropriated through one criminal act or another,” Mr Costello said.

The Dublin Central TD said the money could be used to finance children’s playgrounds, after-school services and drug-related initiatives.

But he stressed the money should not be used as a substitute for existing Government funds.

CAB have also moved to try to seize the assets of convicted Dublin criminal, John Gilligan, and a number of properties valued at over €1m, which had been owned by the murdered gangland boss Martin Cahill known as the General.

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