Sinn Féin TD Ruairi O Murchu says Gardai require a “more holistic” approach to combating drug crime that continues to pervade county Louth.
The Deputy was making his comments during the Dundalk Joint Policing Committee meeting on Tuesday afternoon, where he cited recent attacks on homes in the town and instances of anti-social behaviour before turning his attention to the issue of drugs.
“We’ve been dealing with nuisance level burning in Muirhevnamor. That was followed up with the attack on the Garda’s home. Given the almost tragic circumstances that we had at the weekend [the arson attack in Clontygora Court]….I hope calm heads will prevail in the community.”
He said the figures Gardai presented on the number of threats to kill or cause harm in Dundalk so far this year – 22 – were often “connected with drugs”.
“We’ve had other houses and buildings attacked,” he added.
The TD, elected in February, praised Gardai in the town for seizures and searches conducted. “Everybody loves to see it. It shows a certain light at the end of the tunnel and it puts pressure on certain dealers.
“At the same time, they put the pressure on. We then have serious difficulties in drug debt intimidation. We have positives but we are going to need something more holistic.”
O Murchu also told the meeting of a recent incident that took place at his constituency office on Crowe Street. He said a person arrived “in a bad way” and “suffering from a particular issue.” Deputy O Murchu confirmed Gardai attended and dealt with the situation.
“Some of this is the Gardai dealing with wider failings, particularly in relation to mental health. We still need a greater level of services as regards to drug addiction and a greater level of services in regards to targeting drug dealers. We absolutely need them.”
Superintendent Gerry Curley said resources to fight drugs was the most important area. “We’ve had some success in the targeting of drugs but our Drugs Unit needs to be increased. Drugs is the biggest problem in the district.”
He also confirmed additional office capacity at Dundalk Garda Station will come on-stream, with assistance from the Office of Public Works.