Garda drug detection team cut back for Laois and Offaly

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Staff cut to Garda drugs unit for Laois Offaly

Staff cut to Garda drugs unit for Laois Offaly

The Garda drugs detection team for Laois and Offaly has had its staff number nearly halved.

Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly, Barry Cowen, has said resources in Laois and Offaly aimed at tackling drug use has been neglected as the drug unit in the Division has fewer personnel today than in 2017.

Figures revealed to Fianna Fáil show numbers in the drug unit assigned to the Laois-Offaly Division have decreased with just three Gardaí assigned to the unit. No sergeants or inspectors are assigned to the unit.

Deputy Cowen said, “The figures speak for themselves. In 2017 and 2018 there were five personnel assigned to the unit, including one sergeant. Now in 2019 that number stands at three.

“Despite all the talk of an accelerated Garda recruitment drive, the drug unit in Laois Offaly has seen no increase in personnel, instead it has been cut. Despite this the Gardaí in the county have been very successful in recent months in seizing thousands of euro worth of drugs.

“But it goes without saying, greater resources and personnel would mean the drug unit could have more reach.

“Laois-Offaly are one of the few divisions in the county which have seen their personnel cut. Why is this the case? Are the Government happy to use the county as a cost cutting measure?” he asked.