Sinn Fein TD warns of impending “tsunami of addiction” when lockdown ends, as gardai seize €50,000 in drugs and cash in Limerick city estate

Maurice Quinlivan TD

A LIMERICK TD who recently called for gardai to target drug searches in St Mary’s Park in the city has praised gardai who seized €50,000 worth of drugs and cash in the estate today, but warned society faces a “tsunami of addiction” when lockdown ends.

Calling for extra resources for drug and alcohol addiction services, Mr Quinlivan, who is also Director of the Midwest Drugs and Alcohol Taskforce, said: “There is a huge concern that we will be facing a tsunami of addiction when the current pandemic restrictions end. Funding and support must be offered to those services that will be tasked with residing to this crisis.”

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Gardai said they recovered “€40,000 worth of drugs and €10,000 in cash following a search operation that was carried out in the St Mary’s Park area”.

“During the course of the search cocaine, diamorphine, cannabis, and prescription tablets were seized. All drugs will be sent to Forensic Science Ireland for a technical examination,” a spokesman said.

Two men, one aged in his 20s and the other in his late teens, along with a male juvenile, were arrested.

“Both adult males are currently being detained under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 at Henry Street Garda station. The juvenile has been released pending referral to the Juvenile Diversion Programme,” gardai added.

Welcoming the drugs bust, Deputy Quinlivan, said: “I have raised this issue with the Minister for Justice, the relevant Minister of State and others or a number of months now. Families in this estate have been living with the presence of open 24-hour drug dealing for a long time. One house has been acting like a drug supermarket for months now.”

“I am delighted to see such decisive action being taken by the Gardaí and I commend them on this highly successful operation.”

Deputy Quinlivan noted the “value and quantity of the drugs seized is worrying”, and he said that “crack cocaine which is regularly sold in the area has a devastating impact on the user and those around them”.

“It is highly addictive and has destroyed families and communities,” he added.

“The removal of these drugs is extremely welcome news and represents a highly successful operation by An Garda Síochána. I want to put on record my appreciation of their actions and those of the local community. Despite legitimate fears, they have contacted the Gardaí and other organisations to report the scourge of drug dealing within their community.”

Mr Quinlivan said garda drugs searches “are but one side of the coin when it comes to dealing with the scourge of illegal drugs” and he called for “an increase in resources locally for those organisations involved in drug addiction services”.

“I am again calling on the government to increase funding to the regional drug and alcohol forums, to ensure local communities have the tools to fight the drugs epidemic that is causing havoc to so many families.”

He added: “This is a great first step and I am delighted to see such a strong Garda intervention in the area. I hope that todays events offer some comfort to the many wonderful residents who live there. I hope that the court services can now follow up and ensure that justice is served to those involved in such anti community activity.”