‘No village that doesn’t have a drug dealer’

A senior garda has said there is no village or small town in Clare that does not have a drug dealer.

At a meeting of the Co Clare joint policing committee last night, Chief Supt John Kerin reported that Section 15 drug offences had increased by 68% in the first 10 months of 2013, compared with the same period in 2012.

There have been 74 Section 15 offences in Clare district so far this year, compared to 44 for the corresponding period in 2012. The offences refer to large quantities of drugs that are considered to be for sale or supply.

There was a 29% increase in Section 3 or minor drugs offences, which rose from 154 in 2012 to 200 so far in 2013.

“The big increase that we find is in drug cultivation, where people are growing their own cannabis plants. There is a lot of that in Co Clare. Most of the time this is for a person’s private use but not always,” said Chief Supt Kerin.

“We have had an increase in detection this year — but it is hard to know if that is because of an increase in activity or better detection. There is no village in Clare that doesn’t have people taking drugs or selling drugs — there is no point in saying otherwise.”

Former mayor of Clare Pat Daly criticised the judicial system at the meeting, claiming drug dealers were “getting off on technicalities” and that some judges were being too lenient.

Chief Supt Kerin said: “We don’t like to see anybody getting off but should a person be convicted in the wrong? You have to balance that.”


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