THERE has been an 85% increase in detections for drug dealing in Cork city this year and senior gardaí have warned that recreational use of drugs is helping to fund gangland weapons in places like Dublin.
According to figures provided by Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin at yesterday’s meeting of Cork City Joint Policing Committee, there were 312 drug dealing detections in Cork city to date this year – up 85% from 169 last year.
Cocaine showed the highest increase in detections in the past year, up 102% from 42 to 85 incidents this year. Heroin increased by 25% from 42 to 54 seizures, while there was an 83% increase in cannabis seizures, from 83 to 152 detections.
In July, gardaí made the biggest ever heroin seizure in Cork, when an estimated €425,000 of the drug was discovered in Knocknaheeny.
Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin said: “Drugs are still very much prevalent in our society here in Cork city. There has been a huge amount of resources dedicated – we have increased the divisional drugs unit and the district drugs unit substantially over the last six months or so. We have had great success in detecting drugs for sale and supply, and for personal use.”
He added that the city centre policing unit established in recent months has also been a key in boosting drug detections.
He revealed the figures as gardaí raise concerns about the increasing use of drugs like cocaine in Cork city.
One source told: “The message needs to go out that the €80 someone spends on a gramme of cocaine is going into buying bullets by gangs in Dublin.” Chief Supt McPolin told yesterday’s meeting that gardaí detected a lot of drugs at checkpoints set up to police Covid-19 regulations.
He added: “We also targeted public transport – the trains and buses – and we had success there, and quite a few of the detections were intelligence-led operations.” He said the reduction in public disorder incidents was a consequence of pubs and clubs being closed for the majority of the last nine months, leading to less drunkenness on the streets.
He said there have been four incidents of firearms being discharged in Cork city this year, compared with just one last year.
He added that there were 12 detected incidents of possession of firearms in the city to date this year, compared with just one last year. And he said there were 144 detections of offensive weapons, including knives, last year, compared with 215 this year.
He said: “Certainly, we can see there is an increase of weapons out there in Cork city, be it firearms, knives or weapons of offence.”
He said a lot more searches are now being conducted by gardaí, helping to remove such weapons from circulation.