GRA calls for extra gardaí to police West Cork festivals

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has called for more manpower to police festivals in West Cork after drugs worth €11,000 were seized and three gardaí were assaulted during a special policing operation mounted for a popular rugby tournament.

It follows confirmation yesterday that 60 drug detections were made, mostly for cocaine, and 29 people were arrested during the Kinsale 7s policing operation in Kinsale, Co Cork, over the May bank holiday weekend.

Three gardaí were also assaulted in the line of duty. One of the gardaí may be out of work for some time as a result of the injuries he sustained.

GRA West Cork Garda Division spokesman, Jason Collins, praised the work of members on the ground, who he said went above and beyond the call of duty.

“We have welfare concerns for our members. We have a number of festivals coming up in West Cork and we will be seeking to have more manpower brought in for them, both for the safety of our members and that of the public,” he said.

Gardaí mounted a large policing operation as an estimated 20,000 people came through the town over the weekend.

It included the deployment of additional plainclothes members from the Divisional Drugs Unit as well as members from the Roads Policing Unit.

It resulted in the arrest of 29 people for alleged public order offences, for suspected drink and drunk driving, and for possession of drugs.

Bandon-based Superintendent Brendan Fogarty, said the vast majority of those who visited the town were “respectful and complied with gardaí and stewards”.

However, he said there were 60 detections for possession of suspected drugs, mostly cocaine.

“This is an alarming amount of detections for drugs. Drugs have such a negative impact on so many lives and have no place in our communities,” he said.

“Six people also took the risk of getting behind the wheel with drugs or alcohol in their system.

“People who do this are putting themselves, our family, and our friends at risk by driving whilst intoxicated.”

The details emerged yesterday a day after gardaí in Kerry confirmed that of the 16 people who were arrested in the Killarney District over the same bank holiday weekend on suspicion of dangerous driving or driving under the influence, 12 of them were motorists who were attending the Rally of the Lakes event.

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