Sixteen young people dead - and now the Drugs Unit could be disbanded

As fears grow over the future of the Garda Drugs unit in Donegal, local campaigner, P.J. Blake has cited the drug related deaths of sixteen young people in the county in the last decade and a half.

As fears grow over the future of the Garda Drugs unit in Donegal, local campaigner, P.J. Blake has cited the drug related deaths of sixteen young people in the county in the last decade and a half.

Claiming that families were still “suffering and grieving” over their respective losses, he maintained: “I’ve been at some of these funerals and I’ve seen the grief of these poor people. I’ve also seen the crocodile tears shed by some other people at these funerals. A week later these scum are out selling the drugs on the streets again - that’s how much they care.”

The Letterkenny based anti-drugs activist has written to local public representatives within the past couple of weeks calling for their support against the feared downgrading of the drugs unit in the county. “Sadly the demand is there and our young people are suffering.

“There are sixteen of our young people dead as a result of this scourge,” Mr. Blake told the Dail and Senate representatives.

Recalling the stance of T.D. Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, who has gone on record proposing the legalisation of cannabis and admitted to consuming the drug, he added: “He said he was giving it up in concern for his children but where’s his concern for other young people?”

On the confirmed closures of Garda Stations in Dunkineely and Culdaff, Mr. Blake said many stations were already shut in effect throughout the county.

“We’re a border county and it’s blatantly obvious that gangs are targeting border areas. But these gangs will be very encouraged to hear that more and more Garda Stations are being closed down in Donegal.

“These cuts are eating into resources. Even some of the vehicles the Gardai are driving around in are in atrocious condition. Where are all these cutbacks going to end? Everything will eventually be centred in the station in Letterkenny but if you ring the station about some problem or other they want to know more about you than the problem.”

Stating that local knowledge was vital in fighting crime, Mr. Blake said such knowledge was being eradicated as experienced Gardai took early redundancy from the force.

“If they close all the rural stations how on earth do they expect the Gardai in the main areas such as Letterkenny to know where certain townlands are located?

“The whole thing is crazy and getting crazier by the day. We’re handing carte blanche to the criminal element to do their worst. Closing these Garda stations is playing right into their hands,” Mr. Blake claimed.