'major issue' | 

Kerry’s top garda insists hard drugs are not ‘rampant’ in the county

Cllr Norma Moriarty had previously claimed hard drugs are being abused by people of all ages in “every nook and cranny” of the county

Simon BrouderKerryman

Kerry’s top Garda has insisted that hard drugs are not “rampant” around the county and while their use has increased, Kerry’s drug problem is no greater than any other county.

Kerry Chief Superintendent Padraic Powell made the comments at the Kerry Joint Policing Committee’s final meeting off 2022 which took place earlier this month.

The issue of hard drug use in the county was raised by several councillors including Mayor of Tralee Mike Sheehy; Killarney Cllr Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan; Waterville based Cllr Norma Moriarty.

Cllr Moriarty said hard drugs are being abused by people of all ages in “every nook and cranny” of the county and called for a preventative campaign – like those used to discourage drink driving – to be undertaken.

Cllr Moriarty said there is now “a terrifyingly blasé attitude” to drug use and that it needs to be treated as a public health issues as well as a criminal matter.

Cllr O’Callaghan suggested that an ‘anti drug aspect’ should be added to school road safety roadshows, such as those held at Killarney’s INEC, that are frequently organised by the gardaí.

Mayor Sheehy said that hard drug use is everywhere and he asked Cheif Supt Powell if he felt the Kerry Garda Division had adequate resources to deal with the problem.

Chief Supt Powell acknowledged that drug use is a major issue but he disputed the claims that hard drug use was “rampant” across the county.

“The county isn’t awash with drugs. It’s similar to others,” said Chief Supt Powell.

In terms of resources he said the Divisional drugs unit – which currently include two sergeants and 13 gardaí – is “adequately resourced” and is soon to receive four additional members and its own dedicated Detective Inspector.

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