ALL mobile phones will have to be registered as part of a Government plan to improve surveillance on drug dealers.
Currently, any person can buy a pay-as-you-go mobile phone anonymously, which makes it harder for the gardai to track those involved in the drugs trade.
In an interview with the Irish Independent, new Drugs Minister Pat Carey said registry would help to tackle the "rampant use" of mobile phones in prisons, as well as small-time dealers working in the "shopping-centre carpark, the church car park or the local football field".
"If you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear. There may well be confidentiality or civil liberties issues but there are lives of people at stake as well, which I believe overrides any of those."
The measure is part of the anti-drugs strategy agreed with the Green Party in the programme for government.
Mr Carey said there were also plans to provide a Criminal Assets Bureau officer in every garda division to target mid- and lower-level drug dealers.