29 October 2019
By Elaine Murphy
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South Central Michael McGrath says warnings about a surge in heroin use and open drug dealing in the city need to be heeded and has called on the Justice Minister to ensure that additional Gardaí are allocated to Cork.
The warning comes following the release of new figures to Deputy McGrath, which show that between the end of December 2018 and the end of August 2019, the number of Garda vehicles across the three Cork divisions fell from 248 to 229.
“While I appreciate that an increase in Garda numbers is just one element in what needs to be a multi-agency approach, but it is an important one. The lack of Gardaí in the city and right across the county is an issue which is regularly raised by people contacting my office, and one which has been completely ignored by Fine Gael”, said Deputy McGrath.
“This open drug dealing has a detrimental impact on communities. It creates a sense of fear among people living in the area and fails to address the users’ underlying issues. We need proper treatment and support structures, but the resources are simply not there. We also need a visible Garda presence on our streets to ensure that people who need help can be identified and referred to the relevant services.
“I have been raising concerns about Garda numbers for some time and recently received a Parliamentary Reply from the Justice Minister revealing a stark reduction in the number of Garda vehicles in the three Cork divisions over an eight-month period.
“The figures for Cork city are particularly stark – it’s down 9 vehicles since the start of the year. There can be no doubt that this reduction is having an impact on day to day policing across the city and county.
“This issue must be addressed as part of a wider initiative to tackle open drug dealing in Cork. Unless the government wakes up to this incredibly serious problem and allocates the resources needed, the situation will continue to spiral out of control”, concluded Deputy McGrath.