By Keith Bourke
Cocaine use in Mayo is threatening to spiral out of control, a meeting of the Joint Policing Committee for the county has heard.
Drug-offence detections in the county have plummeted by 44% for possession and 50% for sale and supply but committee members contend that this does not reflect the scale of the drugs problem in the county.
Independent councillor Christy Hyland pointed to the surge in cocaine use:
“We are going to lose a generation to it,” said the former garda, who branded drug dealers “the scum of the earth”.
“Every town is awash with cocaine,” Cllr Hyland added.
Fine Gael councillor Damien Ryan said that in his Ballinrobe constituency the town’s proximity to Galway is “a big problem”.
He said local secondary school teachers have told him of the drop-off points being used by dealers operating in the south Mayo town.
“It’s an epidemic that we have to get ahead of,” said Cllr Ryan.
Fine Gael’s Tom Connolly said there are “despicable” drug dealing activities taking place in Claremorris with those suspected of being involved in the illicit trade driving around the town in top-of-the-range cars despite having no visible means of income.
The meeting was told that there are five gardai attached to the Drugs Unit in Mayo.
Superintendent Joe McKenna admitted drugs are “a major issue” in the county, adding that the recovery in the economy appears to have boosted the trade and that drug use crosses every stratum of society.
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