Total of 22 motorists caught drug driving in Cork so far this year

File photo

A total of 22 motorists have tested positive for driving under the influence of drugs so far this year in Cork, with cannabis and cocaine the most common drugs detected.

Chief Supt Con Cadogan told a meeting of the Cork City and County joint policing committee (JPC) that it was not just young people who were being caught drug-driving as he had personally been at a checkpoint when a 50-year-old man tested positive for drug driving.

He said that in the first four months of this year gardaí in the city and county divisions had arrested 98 people for possession of drugs for sale or supply and a further 445 for having drugs for personal use.

The figures are roughly the same as the comparable period for 2017.

Cllr Joe Carroll said he was very concerned about “the very prevalent and growing drug problem in West Cork”.

The councillor said he was particularly worried about the increased availability of drugs in the past 12 months in his hometown of Skibbereen.

The general consensus is there are not enough gardaí dealing with it. I know gardaí have other things to do, but I could talk about places all around West Cork. More resources need to come into tackling this,” Cllr Carroll told gardaí attending the JPC meeting in County Hall.

Cllr Daithí Ó Donnabháin, who is a solicitor, said Cllr Carroll was “dead right”.

He claimed that the city’s drug squad was under-resourced.

“There is a lack of resources coming down to Cork. Dublin is getting a better shake of resources,” Cllr O Donnabhain added.

Cllr Carroll acknowledged the work of the drugs squad in West Cork, but said he still thought more could be done.

You can see people in the streets dealing. I have people coming up to me giving me stories every day. I’d like to see a more concentrated effort,” Cllr Carroll said.

The JPC was informed that a total of 78 probationer gardaí were allocated to Cork in the last three years after finishing their training in Templemore. Of those, 38 went to the city and 20 each to the Cork North and Cork West garda divisions.

Supt Mick Comyns, who is from the Cork City Garda Division, said every senior garda officer would like to see more resources on the streets, but they had to deal with the numbers they were allocated.

However, he said he could see the manpower position improving all the time in Cork and was hopeful it would soon get back to pre-recession levels.

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