Fianna Fáil TD and Spokesperson on National Drugs Strategy has said that the number of Garda Síochána currently assigned to each Divisional Drugs Unit is problematic to the on-going work required to tackle the escalation in drug related crime nationwide.

Figures released to Fianna Fáil reveal that the number of An Garda Síochána currently assigned to each Divisional Drugs Unit has substantially decreased since 2011. Areas in Dublin have seen a severe reduction in resources for dedicated drugs squads, with the number of officers cut from 147 in 2011 to 114 in 2016. The Dublin South division has lost half of its drugs squad cut from 31 to 16 over four years, while 11 Gardaí have been pulled from the Garda drugs unit in Dublin west, with 15 fewer in south Dublin.

Speaking on the cuts Deputy Chambers said, “The policy of ignoring Ireland’s drugs crisis has put communities and vulnerable individuals at serious risk for far too long.

“As drug related crime has spread over recent months, we saw condemnation from the Minister and repeated promises to crack down on criminal gangs. Despite this, crime has continued while we remain without a Garda Armed Support Unit which was promised to be operational by June.

“The fact that some Garda divisions including Cavan/Monaghan and Laois/Offaly are without any dedicated drugs unit underscores how uncommitted this Government is to effectively defeating country wide drug operations and the crime associated with them.

“As the level of crime linked to drugs has escalates and violence continues to pose a danger to our communities, people are asking why more isn’t being done. The reinstatement of fully resourced dedicated drugs units in all Garda divisions is a necessary component of the overall response required,” added Chambers.