Topical Issue Speech
‘To ask the Minister for Justice to discuss the prevalence of drugs, specifically heroin and crack cocaine in Limerick City and the open dealing of such narcotics.’
Deputy Maurice Quinlivan
Thursday, October 1 2020
Check against Delivery
I would like to thank Deputy Quinlivan for raising this matter here today.
I am very conscious of the impact that anti-social behaviour has on the quality of life for residents in local communities and for those working in or visiting our cities and towns. Gardaí are working hard to tackle this, and all forms of criminality, in our communities and urban areas to make them safer for all members of society.
I am assured that the occurrence and prevalence of crime and anti-social behavior, including drug dealing, is constantly monitored at national and local level by Garda management to ensure that appropriate policing responses are designed and delivered as appropriate.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the area of interest to the Deputy is policed by three different Garda Stations all located within the Henry Street Division – Henry Street, Roxboro Road and Mayorstone Park. As at the end of August 2020, there are 453 Gardaí assigned to those three stations. This is an increase of over 7% since 2015 – up from 422.
These Garda members are supported by 60 Garda staff members representing an increase of almost 67% since 2015 – up from 36. The Garda staff levels supports the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative to operational policing duties, where their training and expertise can be used to best effect.
The Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau leads in tackling all forms of drug trafficking and the supply of illicit drugs in Ireland and is supported by Divisional Drugs Units, which tackle drug related crime on a local basis throughout the country. I am informed that Divisional Drug Units are now established in every Garda Division.
An Garda Síochána also remains committed to tackling the supply of drugs by supporting local communities through various preventative and detection initiatives and engagement with Local and Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Forces; the Garda Youth Diversion Programme and Projects; the Garda Schools Programme; the Joint Policing Committees and Community Policing Fora.
These Garda measures have continued unabated by the Covid-19 pandemic and additional demands on policing the range of public health restrictions. Indeed, the Garda Commissioner emphasized at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic that An Garda Síochána’s policing measures to respond COVID-19 would not affect Garda resources assigned to specialist units, including drugs units.
The Deputy will be aware that the CSO published its Recorded Crime Statistics for Q2 2020 earlier this week and increases in simple possession and drugs for sale or supply contributed chiefly to the overall increases in certain drugs-related offences recorded by the CSO. This is why the multi-stranded Garda response I have outlined is critical.
The uninterrupted policing of organised crime at a national level and the strength of Divisional Drugs Units at a local level during the policing of the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly contributed to recent successes in seizing controlled drugs and in the apprehension of those involved in the sale and supply of the substances involved.