By Keith Bourke
A Mayo-based Garda Superintendent has said demand for drugs in our towns and villages is feeding the illicit trade in the county.
Supt Joe McKenna told a meeting of the Mayo Joint Policing Committee (JPC) in Castlebar last Friday that we have to look at our own communities if we are to tackle the problem.
“Sometimes what we lose sight of is that if there was no demand then there would be no drugs,” said Supt McKenna.
Castlebar-based Supt Kevin Gately said Gardaí in the county will be stepping up their efforts to educate young people and their parents about the effects of drugs. He said there is an “absence of knowledge” among some parents that Gardaí are working to try and bridge.
Supt Gately said that every drug imaginable is available in Mayo.
“It’s just a matter of how long you are prepared to wait for it,” he told the JPC meeting.
Supt Gately said there are concerns about children getting into debt with local drug dealers who then call in bigger suppliers in a bid to collect on the debt.
Last month Gardaí in Mayo carried out 69 successful street searches for drugs. A further 13 homes were searched for illegal substances.
A total of 17 people were apprehended in possession of drugs for their own use. Five people were arrested on suspicion of possession for sale or supply, with drugs valued at more than €40,000 seized as a result.
Supt Gately also revealed that one cultivation operation was broken up during November with drugs with an estimated street value of €3,500 recovered. A total of 35 people have been detected drug driving in the county so far this year.
Members of Mayo Co Council urged for more resources to put into the battle against drugs in the county.
Independent Cllr Michael Kilcoyne said having just five members in the Mayo Divisional Drugs Unit is “like putting a sticking plaster on a wound”.
“You have to be given the resources,” he added.
Erris-based Fine Gael Cllr Gerry Coyle said anyone found with drugs in their vehicle should be disqualified from driving for life or a minimum of five years.
His party colleague Neil Cruise suggested crushing their car in front of them as a further deterrent.
“With them in it!” joked Cllr Kilcoyne.