The biggest increases in recorded drug crime countrywide are occurring outside of Dublin. Sizeable increases have been recorded in many locations in Cork, Kerry, Donegal, Sligo, Carlow, Louth, Mayo, Kildare and Westmeath.
Garda sources believe higher disposable incomes among recreational drug users combined with a buoyant drugs trade are the main driver behind this rise in drug crime. In 2016, it increased by 6%, followed by 5% in 2017 and 9% last year. The number of offences in the first half of 2018 nationally, at 10,900 drug crimes recorded, was 20% higher than the same period last year.
Drug crime by Garda station
An analysis of drug crimes recorded in each Garda station across the Republic over the 4 years from 2015 reveals rising drug crime trends in regional Ireland, while the increases in Dublin are more modest, reports The Irish Times.
Increase in drug crime since 2015
Number of offences
Cannabis and cocaine
According to Supt. Adrian Gamble in Midleton, most of the detections involved cannabis and cocaine for both personal use and sale or supply.
“Thankfully heroin is not a major cause of concern in east Cork, but cocaine, cannabis and cannabis herb are concerns and we’ve had some important seizures where we’ve arrested suspects involved in the supply of all three.”
“We have had increases in detections over the last 4 years and I attribute that to increased Garda activity. We’ve had a dedicated drug unit working in the area and they have had some good success against dealers”, he said.
Intelligence-led operations have led to seizures of drugs worth €4000 and €5000. On-the-street policing has also led to some good smaller detections, by stopping and searching people.
Many dealers remain ‘independent’ operators, concentrating on the streets and housing estates they know and only rarely becoming organised into a larger criminal gang. Some dealers operate from local council houses.
Parents have been left frantic as a result of their teenage children being lured into the local drugs scene, according to councillor Declan Clune, who chairs Waterford’s Joint Policing Committee. The toll of misery is no different to elsewhere reports The Irish Times. Extortion and intimidation are commonplace, with people having to flee the city because of the debts they owe, leaving other family members to face the bill.