Gardaí will need more resources to tackle rise in city drugs trade

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RECENT seizures of almost €4 million worth of cocaine and cannabis in Limerick and Dublin indicates that the sale and supply of narcotics shows no sign of slowing down locally.

That’s according to Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea, who was commenting after four separate Garda operations uncovered significant amounts of illegally imported drugs, with a number of arrests being made.

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Separately, Gardaí in Limerick have expressed fears that a dispute between two families in the Garryowen area will escalate following the alleged theft of a ‘substantial’ quantity of drugs.

“Last week’s operations, led by officers from the Garda’s National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and Gardaí stationed across the city assure the public that work is ongoing in the fight to defeat organised and drug-related crime in our urban communities. I must commend their ongoing work in this regard,” Deputy O’Dea told the Limerick Post.

“However, it is very worrying to hear that Gardaí in Limerick have expressed fears that a dispute between two families in the Garryowen area will escalate following the alleged theft of a ‘substantial’ quantity of drugs.

“The local Gardaí who did such Trojan work a few years back to effectively eliminate the threat from drugs gangs in the city, have to be given every resource to deal with this new emerging problem before it gets out of hand.

“It’s clear from trends in supply that more people than ever before are taking illegal drugs and that indicates that this is far from a Dublin specific issue. The sale and distribution of illegal narcotics has long taken hold in Limerick.”

The former Defence Minister also believes that recent drugs hauls by the Gardaí in Limerick demonstrate that curtailing the flow of drugs requires huge resources, co-ordination, manpower and even greater intelligence sharing with international colleagues.

“The Cross-Border Organised Crime Threat Assessment report published last month revealed that cocaine use in Ireland is close to reaching its 2007 peak. Where there is a demand there is a supply and no doubt last week’s quantity was set for the social circuits ahead of Christmas. That’s the sad reality and most recreational users conveniently ignore the broader impact of their drug use and its direct links to criminality.

“Local drug units operating within An Garda Síochana in Limerick and communities across the country should be given every State support to continue to intercept hauls of this size, tackle the drug gangs and to obstruct the sale of drugs on our streets.”

Metropolitan Mayor Daniel Butler, who is also a drug education and support worker, said that the recent large haul of drugs in the city by the Gardaí comes as no surprise as the Christmas holidays approach.

He claims that drug use in the city’s third level institutions has now reached worrying levels.

“This time of year traditionally sees an increase in drug use and therefore supply. Those buying drugs must realise that they are financing crime and the exploitation of people in our city, country and indeed world,” Mayor Butler commented.

“A number of factors contribute to the level of drug use in Limerick. The central one is our socio-economic profile where we are still suffering with relatively high levels of unemployment and poverty. The second one is our young population with the addition of our large student base.

“Drug use within our third level institutions has reached worrying levels to the point of normality in a student’s life.

“Certainly, strategic law enforcement plays a role in terms of supply reduction but just as important is tackling the demand side. This can be done through various local agencies addressing the issues of addiction and drug abuse in general.

“This work needs greater resources but, in the long term, it will yield greater results,” he concluded.