New forensic science laboratory faces delay

Concerns have been expressed for the timeframe for the provision of a new forensic science laboratory after the Government confirmed tenders for its construction had been deferred.

Confirmation of the delay was confirmed by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.

The reason given to Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan was “owing to the complexity of the project and recent changes in international forensic laboratory standards, it will be necessary to add further material to the tender documentation”.

Mr O’Callaghan pointed out the Government had in October 2016 signalled the project would begin construction in 2017.

“Director of Forensic Science Ireland, Dr Shelia Willis has previously highlighted the need for a new laboratory to assist their work,” he said.

“The existing facility is unsuitable for modern science practices and cannot support the developments in pattern drug use,” he said.

On Thursday, a scientist from Forensic Science Ireland provided on-site guidance and advice to gardaí in securing evidence and identifying toxic materials located at the scene of a crystal meth laboratory in Walkinstown, Dublin.

Drugs with a street value estimated to be over €450,000 were also recovered along with other paraphernalia.

A 50-year-old man was arrested at the scene and held under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act.

Mr O’Callaghan said it was his understanding that the discovery was the first of its kind in the State.

“Given the discovery, I urge the Government to extend its full support to the crucial work carried out by Forensic Ireland and ensure that they are allocated resources to respond to emerging synthetic drug trends such as crystal meth,” he said.

Mr O’Callaghan described crystal meth as one of “the most insidious, synthetic street drugs”.

“Details of its emergence onto the illicit drug market in Ireland is deeply concerning,” he said.

“The highly addictive drug is proven to have devastating side effects which are potentially dangerous to the individual themselves but also to those around them.

“This makes those taking meth a threat to the public and to the emergency first responders that are often called on to treat the drug user.”

He said that the toxic chemicals involved in ‘cooking’ crystal meth are potentially explosive and therefore producing the drug can endanger those nearby.

“The importance of the work of the Garda Drugs Squad across the country cannot be overstated and the Government must ensure that they are consistently provided with adequate resources to prevent a spread of this synthetic drug and others like it,” he said.


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