2 August 2007 Edition

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Calls for Ombudsman to investigate Ballymagroarty incident

Martina Anderson

Martina Anderson

Derry MLA calls for zero tolerance for Drug Dealers

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson has called for zero tolerance and the full rigours of the law to be brought to bear on drug dealers.
“Time and time again we see these purveyors of death in court making excuses as to why they became involved in drug dealing and pleading leniency.
“Although most of the dealers who end up in court are at the lower end of the scale we must however, show that drug dealing will not be tolerated at any level if we are to break the chain of misery created by drug dealing.
“If communities are to have confidence in the law then they need to see these drug dealers being removed from the communities that they prey on for a long time”, Anderson said on Tuesday.
“Far too often dealers are caught red handed one day, charged and released the next day with a derisory fine or get a suspended sentence. No sooner are they out the courthouse door but they are back on the streets again poisoning our youth. This is the wrong message to send out especially when it is widely known the massive amounts of money the druglords derive from their vile trade.
“Only this weekend a young man of 19 was poisoned by heroin in Ballymena yet the dealers will never be charged with his murder and if caught today would most likely be back on the streets again by the weekend.
“This needs to end and longer sentences must be introduced to make these dealers think twice before poisoning our communities”, she said.
Speaking earlier in the week, Anderson welcomed actions taken by the PSNI in Derry against those who would peddle drugs in the community but is calling on the Police Ombudsman’s Office to investigate an incident in Ballymagroarty.
“I welcome the action taken by the PSNI to rid our community of illicit drugs. It is regrettable that some young people thought it appropriate to attack the PSNI with petrol bombs and other missiles while they were involved in that process”, Anderson said.
“People who involve themselves in peddling these substances of death to our youth have no place in our communities and any action that could be perceived by them or others as any form of support is also an attack on our community.
“We need proper and accountable policing in the Brandywell, Gobnascale, Galliagh and everywhere else in society. But that policing must always adhere to the highest human rights standards. That is why, while welcoming the PSNI action against drug dealers, I am calling on the Police Ombudsman to investigate an incident in Ballymacgroarty this morning in which PSNI personnel used CS gas spray against a fifteen year-old boy with special needs.
“While politicians and community representatives have a responsibility to encourage support for proper policing, the PSNI has a huge responsibility to earn the trust and respect of communities by delivering accountable policing. The days of the Police FORCE is over and must be seen to be over. What Sinn Féin is determined to deliver is a Police SERVICE that will respond to community needs in a manner that will be deserving of support”, Anderson said. 

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