Operation targeting dealers ‘sends strong message’

A six-month covert Garda operation targeting heroin dealers in Cork sends out a strong message that offenders will be caught and brought before the courts, senior gardaí said last night.

Chief Supt Michael Finn and Supt Tom Myers hailed the success of Operation Emerson, a test-buying operation involving undercover officers which resulted in 25 people – 16 men and nine women – appearing before the city’s district court yesterday on drugs charges.

Chief Supt Finn said: “We gave a commitment 12 months ago that we were dealing with the heroin issue in Cork. We are tackling it and we will continue to target those who are exploiting people and making money out of other peoples’ misery.”

Supt Myers said gardai were very concerned about the availability of heroin, especially in the city centre, and praised those who provided intelligence leading to seizures and arrests.

Sinn Féin deputy Jonathan O’Brien, who began raising concerns about the city’s growing heroin problem over five years ago, welcomed any garda operation which takes drugs and dealers off the streets.

“But that’s not enough on its own. This kind of operation addresses the supply, but not the demand,” he said.

“We need to provide the services and supports to tackle the demand issue.”

There are an estimated 500 heroin users in Cork, with about 300 registered with HSE services and receiving methadone treatment.

Mr O’Brien repeated calls for the introduction of supervised injection rooms.

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