Drug dealing in Cork City continues to represent a “big challenge” to gardaí, but the city’s top garda has vowed to continue to target the individuals who are “destroying our communities”.
Chief Superintendent Tom Myers made the comments at a meeting of the Cork City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) yesterday following concerns expressed regarding the visibility of drugs in the city centre.
Fianna Fáil councillor Colm Kelleher told the meeting he witnessed open drug taking in the city centre on Sunday afternoon outside a premises on Patrick Street.
Mr Kelleher expressed sympathy for those with drug problems but said additional gardaí are needed to more effectively police the city centre.
“In fairness to the Chief Superintendent, ye are doing an exemplary job with the resources ye have to hand, but we do need to press the issue to the [Garda] Commissioner that we do need our fair share of allocation of gardaí down here,” he said.
Mr Kelleher, who has been steadfast in his support of a supervised injection centre (SIF) for Cork City, said his faith in the idea was further solidified following a recent visit to a city in the state of New York.
“When I was in the States a week ago, I spoke with the Mayor of Rochester, they have a supervised injection facility in Rochester in Upstate New York, and since it was delivered they’ve seen an 84%-85% reduction in open drug use within their city,” he said.
“The proof is in the pudding. They do work.”
Concerns around open drug taking were also expressed by Labour councillor John Maher who said some elderly people are now “fearful” of coming into the city centre.
Chief Supt Myers said drugs continue to represent a “big challenge” for gardaí.
“We have 110 people detected with drugs already around the city so far this year [January and February],” he said.
“We have arrested 35 people for possession of drugs for sale or supply, but quite clearly we’re not doing enough.
“There are drugs in every corner of the city now.
“Unfortunately, that’s the world we’re living in, but I can give you a commitment that we will continue to target those who are destroying our communities really in relation to drug trafficking and drug dealing around the city.”
Chief Supt Myers agreed that the idea of a SIF for the city, previously raised at JPC meetings, should “stay on the agenda”.
Cork City Council chief executive Ann Doherty suggested that a meeting could be sought with the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Hildegarde Naughton, with a view to progressing the matter.