Tánaiste praises those involved in drugs seizure taskforce

Tánaiste Praises Those Involved In Drugs Seizure Taskforce
Micheál Martin said this week's record drug haul was a "great success". Photo: PA Images
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Olivia Kelleher

Tánaiste and Minister for Defence Micheál Martin has said major drug hauls such as the €157 million seizure of cocaine from the MV Matthew show the importance of "reconnaissance" and "intelligence", with such operations not being "all about physical ships at sea".

Speaking in Midleton, Co Cork, Mr Martin described the multi-agency operation by theDefence Forces, An Garda Síochána and Revenue Commissioners as a "great success".


"There tends to be a tendency to reach for the negative within an hour of what was by any standards a very effectively conducted mission by all of the agencies involved.

"We are investing very significantly in equipment and training and infrastructure in our Defence Forces and again one ship was required. That was what was required for that particular operation.

"In any operation there is a mistake made sometimes in some commentary that it is all about physical ships at sea.

"It is the reconnaissance, it is the surveillance, and also of course the intelligence that is shared with us and that we share with European authorities and global authorities in the fight against drugs.


"These are global traffickers so you need global co operation.Intelligence actually is the key to this."

The Tánaiste paid tribute to all parties involved in what was the largest drugs seizure in the history of the State.

"I think the role of the Air Corps here was particularly important in terms of the precision of the pilots. They flew with great precision in respect of a vessel that was undertaking to escape essentially and to go into territorial waters and to land the Army Rangers safely.

"I pay tribute to the bravery and the skill of all concerned," he said.


Mr Martin said the challenges facing the Naval Service in terms of recruitment and retention are not unique to Ireland.

"We have broader recruitment and retention issues, not just here in Ireland it is across most militaries in the world."

He said the State's full employment is having an impact on the ability to attract people to the Naval Service.

"We are doing what we can in terms of new methods and new approaches to recruitment and retention," he added.

Two men have been charged in connection with the seizure and are expected to appear in court on Friday. Five further men remain in custody.

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