Fianna Fáil has promised new legislation to tackle crime gangs and make it difficult for criminals to hold onto the proceeds of crime.

Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea told the party's morning news briefing that the new laws would force criminals to give up their interest in 'tainted' enterprises.

The new laws would also allow court appointed trustees to run organisations infiltrated or controlled by criminal elements.

Asked about a claim by the Labour Party’s Ruairí Quinn that the Criminal Assets Bureau had 'gone easy' on crime gangs associated with Republicans, Mr O'Dea said the CAB was supposed to go hard on everyone.

He stated that if Mr Quinn had any evidence he should take it to the authorities.

Mr O’Dea was also asked about a Hot Press interview in which the party's deputy leader, Brian Cowen, admitted smoking cannabis while he was a student.

Mr O'Dea and Minister Brian Lenihan both said they did not believe Mr Cowen was setting a bad example.

Mr O'Dea added that 'in Brian's case it seems to have done no long term damage'.

Speaking about coalition options after the election, both Ministers said they would go into Opposition rather than enter Government with Sinn Féin.

But asked about accepting Sinn Féin support in the Dáil to return to power, Mr O'Dea said nobody could prevent Sinn Féin from walking through whatever voting lobby they liked.

However, Mr Lenihan said Fianna Fáil would not put themselves in the position where Sinn Féin would be part of the majority that elects the Taoiseach.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party has also unveiled a number of measures to combat organised crime.

At its news conference this morning, the party's Justice spokesman, Brendan Howlin, said it would provide a number of measures to make gang membership an offence, crack down on white-collar crime, provide extra resources for the CAB and re-launch the National Drugs Strategy.

Labour said it would review the Criminal Justice Act. Mr Howlin added that he would also review the proposals for a seven-day detention.

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