Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson, Jim O’Callaghan TD has said that the successful Garda operation in Longford, with seven suspected members of a drug ring in the area being arrested, must act as a wakeup call for the Government and for the country on the scale of the threat posed by drugs gangs.

Deputy O’Callaghan commented, “I would like to congratulate the Gardaí on their work in this case – it is clear that very significant effort and diligence was employed to get to the bottom of this problem in Longford.

“Hopefully, the news that Gardaí have had to invest this level of effort to deal with the distribution of drugs like heroin and cocaine in a small Midlands town must act as a wakeup call for Government and for society as a whole.

“For too long, the political narrative in this country has presented our drug problem as one affecting the high density centres of our larger cities.

“The truth is much more insidious and dangerous than that. The truth is that the hardest and most damaging drugs available are poisoning communities the length and breadth of our country – both rural and urban and across all demographics.

“As this successful raid in Longford shows, our Gardaí are fully aware of the scope of this scourge and doing what they can to deal with it. However, at Government level, there is simply nothing like the required level of energy being invested in developing a drug policy that recognises the scale of the problem.

“As a country we need to recognise the reality of what we are facing and the fact that nowhere is safe from the destructive impact of these drugs. We need to radically update our drugs policy and resource the Gardaí to allow them to bring the approach that we have seen in Longford to communities across the country and I look forward to presenting Fianna Fáil’s contribution to this debate over the coming months.”