Garda drug squad reduced despite 3,000 drug offences

Garda drug squad reduced despite 3,000 drug offences

By Maurice Garvey

A SIGNIFICANT 40 per cent drop in garda drug squad numbers in Dublin Mid-West since 2012, is a damning indictment when there were almost 3,000 drug related offences in the area in 2016, according to Fianna Fáil TD John Curran.

Figures released to Deputy Curran reveal the number of gardai currently assigned to divisional drugs units has decreased nationally by 18 per cent since 2012.

Garda on patrol September 2016

However, Deputy Curran says Dublin has seen a more severe reduction, and cites Dublin Mid-West area as suffering a 40 per cent cut in dedicated drugs squad officers since 2012 – more than twice the national average.

Deputy Curran says there were 2,936 drug related offences in Dublin Mid-West in 2016, and decries the larger cuts in DMR West as “how uncommitted this government is to effectively defeating drug operations and the crime associated with them.”

He said: “As the level of crime linked to drugs and violence continues to pose a danger to our communities, people are asking why more isn’t being done. The reinstatement of fully resourced dedicated drugs units in all garda divisions is a necessary component of the overall response required.”

Chief Superintendent DMR West Division Lorraine Wheatley cited numerous ongoing operations, which are taking place behind the scenes as a counter point to the figures.

“Huge seizures are regularly taking place, like the one in Ballyfermot last night,” said Chief Supt Wheatley, referring to drugs worth €4 million seized during organised crime raids in Ballyfermot last Monday.