5 July 2007 Edition

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Huge drugs haul indicates need for greater resources

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

In light of a massive cocaine find in the sea off West Cork this week, Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said the scale of the seizure is indicative of the market for the drug in Ireland and called on the Government to “use every resource available to underpin and implement all five pillars of the national drugs strategy”. Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday, Ó Snodaigh said the funding shortfalls for local drugs task forces from Budget 2007 must be reversed.
Ó Snodaigh said, “In light of yesterday’s massive cocaine find in the sea off West Cork, reported to be worth at least €100 million there is an urgent need for the government to use every resource available to underpin and implement all five pillars of the national drugs strategy.
“This must include provisions to tackle the popular misconception that this drug is somehow ‘safe’ and to interrupt supply chains through increasing the numbers of Gardaí dedicated to the drugs squads at a national and local level. And it is imperative that the funding shortfalls from Budget 2007 are reversed.
“This massive cocaine find was something of a fluke and it illustrates the need to increase the numbers of Gardaí dedicated to drugs squads to ensure that such a shipment would be discovered and seized whatever the weather.
“The scale of the seizure off West Cork is indicative of the market in Ireland for this dangerous and illegal substance. We must tackle the myth that cocaine is somehow a harmless drug by continuing to highlight the dangers associated with it.
“Cocaine related deaths are on the increase. And cocaine is particularly dangerous when mixed with other drugs such as alcohol. It has implications for user’s health, mental well-being and financial state. Regular cocaine use has been linked with suicide. Cocaine has also been linked with rising levels of indebtedness amongst users and their families and this can put whole families at risk from ruthless drug dealers.
“The new Minister with responsibility for the drugs strategy Pat Carey now has an opportunity to prove his worth. It is essential that he uses every resource available to him to tackle this growing crisis. During his inaugural speech as Junior Minister for Drugs he stated that under his predecessor the government made huge increases in the resources allocated to drugs. But that is simply not the case. Budget 2007 resulted in major funding shortfalls. The new Minister must recognise that and reverse it”.

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