A Ballyshannon town councillor has warned that heroin has become a “major problem in south Donegal”.
Speaking after the council meeting, Fianna Fail councillor Pat O’Malley said that he understood as many as 18 people died in Donegal as a result of drugs last year.
“That is more than died on our roads but the amount of money being spent on road fatalities is massive compared to drugs,” he said.
Fianna Fail councillor O’Malley told the Tuesday night meeting he was very disappointed that the Ballyshannon garda drugs unit had been disbanded and subsumed into a detective unit.
“Heroin is becoming a major problem here and there are a growing number of drug dealers.
“Back in 2001 Inspector Jimmy Coen formed a drugs unit here and it was so successful that he sent an officer from here down to Buncrana to set up another unit,” he said.
“That unit was very successful so I see no reason why it was diluted.”
Mr O’Malley was speaking after town clerk Mary Daly said that Minister Shatter had sent a reply to the town council on the councillor’s query.
He said it made no sense whatsoever to reduce resources
Chairman John Meehan said there were a lot of seizures of drugs recently in the county.
But speaking after the meeting councillor O’Malley said the garda drugs unit was not operating as they used to.
“They have been amalgamated with the detective branch so instead of being 24/7 on the drugs they are now doing everything.
“Speaking to drugs officers they say you have got to be on the ground seven days a week to try and solve the problem.
“There was a very effective drugs unit here around a decade.
“They were very effective because they knew who were the drug dealers and their customers.
“We don’t have the people on the ground to solve the problem.
Mr O’Malley said he was calling for the re-instatement of the drugs unit.
“The number of drugs seizures in Ballyshannon is down.
“If you are not detecting them, then it stands to reason that the number of seizures will be less.”