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Alarming figures show surge in drug related issues in Limerick

ALARMING statistics presented at the latest Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting have raised serious concerns about the growing drug-related issues within Limerick city.

Statistics from January to the end of August 2023, revealed incidents of drug possession for personal use in Limerick have surged by 48% when compared to last year.

The figures unveiled last Friday indicated that incidents have skyrocketed from 238 cases to 353 cases.

Furthermore, the meeting revealed that the possession of drugs for sale and/or supply has also experienced a significant increase in Limerick.

These incidents have increased by 42% when compared to last year.

The data showed that this number rose from 90 to 128, adding to the growing concern regarding the drug trade in the city.

In response to the data relating to the sale and supply of drugs at a 42% increase, Councillor Adam Teskey said: “That figure in itself speaks for itself why we need a dedicated drugs unit in Limerick.

He added: “The fact that we're not going to have one going forward, it'll be interesting to see how those figures are in time to come.”

A newly-proposed garda roster for specialist garda units who tackle drug crimes in Limerick would see shifts conclude at 4am and not resume again until 8am.

This has raised questions over the safety of the public and unarmed gardaí if a serious incident occurs during that time, and sources have previously told the Limerick Leader of their fears that the unit, which targets the sale and supply of drugs, could be “gutted” in early November.

Councillor Bridie Collins asked Chief Superintendent, Derek Smart, about the grounds for ensuring that the drugs unit remains intact, based on the figures revealed.

Mr Smart reiterated that the drugs unit is still in place, but notes that their numbers have been reduced “to support the frontline.”

In reply to a query raised by Councillor Stephen Keary regarding the potential allocation of extra funding for overtime pay for the gardaí, the chief superintendent clarified that no additional funds would be earmarked for this, but added: “Where policing is needed I will be putting policing in place for it.”

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