THE Mayor of Donegal has expressed concern that the county’s drug problem is ‘raging out of control’.
Councillor Rena Donaghey has called for greater Garda resources to be put into tackling the issue.
The latest meeting of the Donegal Joint Policing Committee heard that drug crime in Donegal is again on the rise.
In the period from November 1 2020 to February 1 2021, there were 49 drug offences dealt with by Donegal Gardaí. That is up from 34 in the same period the previous year.
Offences for possession of drugs is up to 33 from 28 while offences for the possession of drugs with the intent to sell or supply has seen a four-fold increase, rising to 16 from four.
Figures obtained by Donegal Daily at the end of 2020 showed that in the first half of 2020, there were 493 offences relating to controlled drugs in Donegal. For the whole of 2019, there were 460 such offences.
In early January, Gardaí in the county seized cocaine to the value of €105,000 at a checkpoint in Lifford while there have been other significant finds, including €4,500 worth of cannabis in January, across the Donegal Division.
“I congratulate the Gardai on the drugs finds around the county, there have been some massive finds and the numbers are scary,” Cllr Donaghey said.
“Buncrana is no different to any other town – we are the second biggest town in Donegal – and six or seven years ago, we pushed hard and got six Gardaí on a dedicated drugs squad. They did magnificent work. That was scaled down and stopped and we had no-one for a while.
“We have two now who are doing great work but it is like tapping the sea with a pitchfork – it’s totally inadequate for a town the size of Buncrana.
“Drug abuse all across Ireland is raging out of control.”
Councillor Michael McBride said that drugs were ‘the biggest scourge’.
He said: “It’s only going one way: up, up, up. We have to get a handle on it.”
Councillor Nicholas Crossan said that society was facing ‘a bigger crisis than ever’.
“It is nearly as handily to get drugs as a pint in the pub,” he said.
“We have a crisis on our hands. If it deteriorates more, we will be looking at a worse pandemic. I do feel sorry for the next generation. We have an uphill battle on our hands.”
Inspector David Durkin said he was ‘acutely aware of the drugs problem in the county’.
“It is high up in our priorities,” he said.Tags: