THE number of detections for drug offences in Cork city in the past year has soared.
There were 1,074 detections for controlled drug offences in the city garda division last year, up from 938 in 2018, figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal .
This is a 14% increase.
The figure is up from 849 such cases in 2017.
Controlled drug offences include drug dealing and possession of drugs for personal use.
The number of detections for drug dealing in the city last year was 188, up from 182 in 2018 and 166 in 2017.
Possession of drugs for personal use was also up, according to the statistics.
The number of detections for possession for personal use was 844, up from 653 in 2017.
In the national figures, there was also an increase in drug-related offences.
Controlled drug offences rose by 17.3% in 2019, compared to 2018, with an increase both in possession for sale or supply, as well as possession of drugs for personal use.
Statistics showed that there were 23 detections for drug-driving in Cork city last year, along with 70 in Cork West garda division, and 71 in Cork North.
The Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, said: “There has been a marked increase in recorded drugs offences this year, compared to both 2017 and 2018.
“This increase is concerning. However, it should be acknowledged that it is also reflective of the increased number of gardaí on the frontline and the concentrated work of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.
“The 100% increase in recorded instances of drugs importation again shows that An Garda Síochána, in partnership with other relevant agencies, nationally and internationally, are having significant success in disrupting drug-trafficking and the supply of illicit drugs in Ireland.”
Minister Flanagan continued: “I am particularly concerned at the substantial increase in the number of recorded incidents of driving while under the influence of drugs (up 142% for 2019).
“This is in stark contrast with the downwards trend in incidents of driving while over the legal alcohol limit (down by 6.7% in 2019),” the minister said.
“Driving while under the influence of drugs is an act of utter recklessness and any person who does so shows a complete disregard for their own safety and that of other road-users.
“I commend An Garda Síochána for their efforts to tackle this appalling act.”
He added: “I call again on all members of the public to recognise the deep harm linked with recreational use of drugs; the purchase and use of illegal drugs by otherwise law-abiding people directly fuels organised and violent crime,” the minister said.
“I urge those who engage in recreational use of illegal drugs to exercise their personal responsibility and to stop supporting violent crime in this way.
“We all have a part to play in reducing this scourge.”