GARDAÍ arrested 23 drug dealers in the greater West Cork area during the first four months of this year, a meeting of the Cork County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) was told this week.
Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan of Cork West Division revealed the figures in response to a motion from Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) who called for gardaí to redeploy manpower and resources to deal with what he called the ‘growing drug problem’ in West Cork.
Cllr Carroll said he had been receiving complaints from people about the increased availability of drugs in West Cork, in particular in Skibbereen, adding that dealing of drugs in places like Castletownbere had ‘gone very public’.
‘There just isn’t enough gardaí working on it and while we know they try their best, they need more resources in tackling the drugs problem,’ said Cllr Carroll.
‘It’s gone very public and you can now see people on the streets and you know that they are on drugs. We need a community garda in Skibbereen who could be able to find out who is dealing.’
Cllr Daithí Ó Donnabháin (FF) agreed with his colleague that gardaí needed more resources.
Chief Supt Cadogan said the West Cork Divisional Drugs Unit based in Bandon recently had a high profile drugs prosecution, following the discovery of a cocaine lab in Bantry late last year.
‘In the first four months of this year we have also caught 23 dealers in the greater West Cork and Skibbereen area, and they are before the courts on charges. We are also working with Cork County Council in relation to properties where drugs are being sold,’ said Chief Supt Cadogan.
‘Two more officers have also joined the Divisional Drugs Unit and the unit has been targeting West Cork over the last two months.’
In relation to other crime stats for the first four months of this year, Chief Supt Cadogan said 22 motorists have been detected for driving while under the influence of drugs so far in Cork, with cannabis and cocaine being the most common drugs found.
Chief Supt Cadogan also noted that it wasn’t just young motorists who were caught drug driving, as he said he was at a checkpoint when a man in his 50s tested positive for drugs while driving.
Garda stats also showed that 445 people were arrested in the first four months of this year for possessing drugs for personal use, a decrease of nine for the same period last year, while 98 people were arrested for the possession of drugs for sale or supply, a slight decrease on last year’s figure.