SHARP CRITICISM OF DECISION TO DISBAND DIVISIONAL DRUGS UNIT WARNING THAT IT WILL “MAKE LIFE EASIER” FOR DRUG PUSHERS

1 February 2013 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By MICHAEL McDONNELL
michael@northern-standard.ie

THE DECISION to disband the Cavan/Monaghan Divisional Drugs Unit, despite its ongoing success in thwarting drug dealers and bringing about numerous prosecutions since it was established in 1999, has been met with sharp criticism from public representatives and a general sense of bewilderment among members of the public themselves.

Fianna Fáil town and county councillor Robbie Gallagher, who highlighted the issue last week and is himself a former garda, described the move as “another major blow to law and order in this region”.

His party colleague Brendan Smith TD, a former minister who briefly held the justice portfolio, said the decision had come without warning and represented a “major blow to security”.
The Northern Standard has learned that the unit, made up of six uniformed gardai and one detective sergeant, will officially cease from Monday 11th February, with its members being redeployed to general duties.

It has been reported that an internal garda email in Monaghan told members of the force that the manning of core working units was “imperative”.

But with over 160 officers stationed in Monaghan alone, many people will find it difficult to understand how freeing up an additional five or six officers for general policing justifies the loss of an experienced unit that was consistently undermining the efforts of drug pushers.

Garda sources have indicated that almost all drugs related convictions in recent years — up on 95% — have been brought about by the work of the unit.

The scale of the drugs problem was highlighted again in Cavan last week when €250,000 worth of cannabis was seized from a local house and a 42-year-old man was arrested.

Over the years the work of the Cavan/Monaghan Divisional Drugs Unit has led to numerous convictions and the seizure of substantial quantities of …

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