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Criminal Assets Bureau to get new powers to prevent targets from delaying seizures of property

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) are set to hold their annual delegate conference in Salthill, Galway later today.

LAST UPDATE | 3 Apr 2023

THE JUSTICE MINISTER will tell gardaí later today that the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) will have new powers to restrict their targets from using repeat vexatious litigation to delay the seizure of property. 

Simon Harris will address delegates at the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) conference in Galway today. 

The Minister is expected to outline the new laws which will halt never ending court challenges – this was a tactic used in previous years by John Gilligan and other targets of CAB operations. 

The Government plan is for new measures that will see the automatic appointment of a receiver to a property when a decision is made that an asset was purchased from the proceeds of crime, pending a final disposal order.

Sources have said that this will mean that a property or asset will be managed by a receiver, and will not be available for use by the person being pursued by the CAB during this period, which currently can last up to seven years.

The new laws will be in the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Bill 2023 and is the latest update for the CAB’s far reaching powers.

The law, if passed, will also reduce the length of time that must elapse before criminal proceeds may be confiscated following a court decision.

There will also be greater ties between An Garda Síochána and other agencies outside of Ireland.

There is also a plan to grant anonymity to former non-Garda CAB Officers when called upon to give evidence at proceeds of crime hearings.

The representative body for middle-ranked gardaí has also called for the withdrawal of an internal directive to help transgender people in the gardaí because of a lack of education for officers. 

General Secretary, Antoinette Cunningham, has strongly criticised on Harris in comments this morning and said that it is “unfair” for gardaí to follow the new rules on gender identity in the workplace. 

She also said that gardaí would discuss the industrial action “that they may want to take” in regard to the roster dispute. 

“AGSI have also raised serious concerns with the internal consultation process and will be seeking the formal withdrawal of the recent Directive on Gender Identity in the Workplace, owing to the lack of consultation and awareness and especially in light of the recent comments by the Garda Commissioner that the mis-gendering of a person could lead to discipline.

“AGSI are acutely aware of the rights of people to transition and be supported in doing so by workplace colleagues.

“In the absence of an awareness and education programme for AGSI members on how to properly support colleagues who wish to transition, it is unfair of the Garda Commissioner to issue this Directive in its current form, and even more unfair is the threat of discipline hanging over us if we are misguided due to a lack of education,” she said. 

Cunningham said that there are “a large number of people” in the Garda organisation who are not aware of the rights and entitlements of trans people.

She said the workforce also does not know “how on a practical day basis they can be supported in the workplace”.

Cunningham’s comments come after the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was asked about the risk of discipline for a garda who misgenders a colleague at a press event. 

Drew Harris said at the time: “This is about respect and respect for individuals in the workplace. We are obviously a very important employer and an employer which sets the highest standards in terms of how we treat individuals in the workplace.

“So it is a precursor and absolute necessity that anybody in the workplace is treated with respect and that includes transgender issues.”

The Commissioner said at the time that he wished to allay garda fears of discipline. 

“AGS is an employer and a workplace where individuals are respected. That’s very clear from our approach in terms of our employment policies and our strategy within the workplace and the culture that we wish to grow within AGS.

“So I wish to really allay their concerns and fears. I can understand why they might arise but if they have an issue in the workplace, either raise it through their supervisor, or raise it with the anti-corruption unit and the matter will be dealt with,” he added. 

It’s the first time in two conferences that the Garda Commissioner will address conference and it will be an important event for him to hear the view of the membership.

There are 24 motions on the programme over the next three days ranging from pay and allowances, training, representation, uniform and equipment and organisational transformation to work practices and promotions.

More than 150 frontline Sergeants and Inspectors will attend the three-day event.

With reporting from David MacRedmond. 

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