DETECTIONS for dealing and possession of drugs for personal use soared in Cork city in the past year.
According to figures released by the Central Statistics Office, drug dealing detections are up to 328 from 188, while possession for personal use is up from 835 to 1,102.
Nationally, controlled drug offences rose by 9.1% compared to 2019, with an increase both in possession for simple possession and drugs for sale or supply contributing the highest volume to the increase.
“While I am concerned to see this increase, we must recognise that it also reflects the increased Garda numbers on frontline policing duties and the concentrated work of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau," Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, said.
"In particular, the marked increase in detection of Cultivation or Manufacture of Drugs is a credit to the proactive and pre-emptive efforts of An Garda Síochána to tackle this form of criminality.”
She also highlighted concerns about 'the substantial increase in the number of recorded incidents of driving while under the influence of drugs'.
"This is in stark contrast with the downwards trend in incidents of driving while over the legal alcohol limit," she said. "While this is parallel to the increased number of Garda checkpoints during the public health emergency, such a profound increase is a troubling trend.
Meanwhile, drink and drug driving remained an issue last year, despite lower levels of traffic on the roads because of lockdown.
In Cork city, there were 262 drink driving detections made in 2019, down only to 232 last year. There were 48 detections for drug driving, up from 24 the previous year.
In relation to Covid-19, there were 1,101 breaches of COVID-19 regulations which were classified as crime incidents by An Garda Síochána in 2020. They included breaches of regulations relating to domestic travel restrictions, licensed premises, wearing of face coverings and international travel.
This week, gardaí have re-commenced High Profile static checkpoints on selected High Volume Motorway/ Dual Carriageway routes as part of the Covid-19 garda operation to ensure compliance.