THE cocaine market in Cork and across the country is being dealt a hammer blow by the closure of pubs and clubs because of the coronavirus.
That is according to the newly appointed head of policing for the Southern garda region, Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn.
Assistant Commissioner Finn, who is based in Anglesea Street, said: "Crime is down at the moment since the start of the coronavirus crisis."
He added that gardai have noted a reduction in cocaine use in recent days since the closure of pubs and clubs, which he described as positive.
He pledged that gardai will continue to target the drugs trade despite the current Covid 19 crisis.
He said: "We are still out there doing our job."
There have been a number of high profile incidents in Cork in the past year involving cocaine. Gardai and drugs counsellors say that the drug, which was last as popular during the Celtic Tiger, is now
available in every village, town and city, as well as in rural areas.
People presenting for treatment come from a wide range of backgrounds and are no longer from just young professional sectors.
Last June, two men were arrested in Cork city in connection with an incident in which cocaine was used on board a train from Dublin. And in recent months, there have been a number of cocaine seizures in Cork including an estimated €11,000 of the drug during a planned search of a house in The Glen on October 10.
Assistant Commissioner Finn returned to Anglesea Street last week after being stationed in Kilkenny, at the helm of the Eastern garda region, since February 2018.
He replaces Assistant Comissioner Anne Marie McMahon, who has been in the Southern region since August 2016.
A garda spokesman said: "Assistant Commissioner Anne Marie McMahon shall be performing the functions of Deputy Commissioiner, Acting in an administrative capacity with responsibility for Strategy, Governnance and Performance. Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn will take responsibility for the Southern Region and will retain responsibility for the Eastern Region, on a temporary basis."
Assistant Commissioner Finn, who is a native of Kerry, has previously served as Chief Superintendent in Cork city and Cork West, as well as having been Superintendent in Bantry, Bandon and Anglesea Street.