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Garda crackdown catches more than 200 drug dealers in Galway

Additional Garda resources dedicated to drug raids had led to the arrest of 200 dealers across Galway so far this year.

The County Galway Joint Policing Committee meeting was told there had been a 141% jump in incidents of drugs possession for sale or supply for the first ten months of this year with 94 cases being processed by the Gardaí. There was a record 280 incidents of drugs possession in the same period, a hike of nearly 95%.

Garda analyst Olivia Meagher said prior to 2023 the number of simple possession cases had remained stable, hovering around 40.

The stark increase was as a result of ‘proactive police work in relation to tackling drugs in the county and the city’ and multiple intelligence-led operations.

Officers had seized €1.2 million worth of drugs until the end of October and the vast majority of that was cocaine, which had a street value of €700,000. That figure was three times the amount of drugs seized in the city.

Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins, who is in charge of investigating all serious crime in Galway, said extra resources allocated by Chief Superintendent Gerry Roche for overtime had resulted in ‘a huge success in drugs detection’.

Ch Supt Roche said since his appointment to the job a year ago he had made targeting drugs a priority.

He noted that half the number of motorists detected for driving under the influence of an intoxicant had consumed drugs as opposed to alcohol, which was a big change.

“It’s no surprise with the amount of cocaine around. It’s in every area of the county. The people we’ve put in there have attacked that, they’re working furiously I would say,” he stressed.

“We’ve 200 drug dealers arrested and brought before the court in the year to date – that’s well up on last year and the years before.” The number of drug dealers arrested last year was 120.

Galway had recently recruited a sniffer pup named Chili, who would be trained to search for illegal substances.

The meeting, which was held in Loughrea to facilitate members of the public attending, was told by a mother of three that despite the detections, a much more “brutal” campaign was needed.

“Every night they go out, I worry about them. Cocaine is huge. It’s in Loughrea, it’s everywhere,” she exclaimed.

“You have to reach out to the teenagers in the school. When I drive through the town, my kids will point out, there’s a dealer down there. A lot of those robberies are to pay for these drugs and to pay drug barons.”

Cllr Peter Roche (FG) said he had met a person whose water meter was being used to store bags of cocaine in a rural village.

“Once they found out it was cocaine, they left it there to save themselves from intimidation.”

He praised the Gardaí work in the Tuam area where multiple properties had been raided netting a considerable amount of drugs and money.

“But the task is enormous.”

Cllr Shane Curley (FF) said he had friends whose lives had been destroyed by drugs: “I think it’s everywhere,” he declared.

Ch Supt Roche admitted the Gardaí were merely “scratching the surface”.

He knew of people seeking treatment in their 40s, 50s and 60s who were involved in GAA and other sports who were battling addiction.

“It’s a matter of personal choice. If they want drugs, they’ll get them. When they buy drugs, they’re fuelling the drugs industry.”

Cllr Pádraig Mac an Iomaire urged people in the community to tip off Gardaí about those pushing the drugs.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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