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Sunday 2 April 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Leah Farrell/
# Drugs
Senior gardaí say use of term 'recreational drugs' helps normalise drug abuse
The President of the Association of Garda Superintendents said there are constant challenges for gardaí in dealing with drugs and organised crime.

THE PRESIDENT OF the Association of Garda Superintendents has expressed concern about the ‘normalisation’ of drug misuse and said officials need to be careful about the language they use when talking about the issue.

Speaking at his association’s annual conference, Noel Cunningham told Minister of State David Stanton that the use “by groups, including official sources of the term ‘recreational drugs’ is only helping to normalise what is illegal, dangerous and supporting drug abuse in Ireland”.

“We must be careful with our language and supportive of a multi-agency approach to addressing drug abuse within our young and not-so-young communities.”

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said he agreed the use of this term was “not appropriate”.

“If you look at drugs, drugs feed then into crime gangs and that feeds into turf wars and then that becomes murder and serious violence and all these things are a continuum and that continuum leads to other forms of criminality, be it human trafficking, be it illegal and indeed child abuse online,” he said.

There is all sorts of problems about being any sort of customer of the drugs trade. You are feeding an illegal trade and you only have to look across the water to see the misery there is in other parts of the world, in Central America, for instance, in the drugs trade. Bear in mind your euro, your euros that you’ve spent on drugs is feeding that crime.

Organised crime

In his address to the conference, junior minister Stanton spoke about the organised crime activity in the Louth and west Dublin divisions. 

“In saying that these criminals are a tiny minority in these areas, I do not discount the concerns of the members of the public whose lives are impacted by their activities,” he said. 

He said dedicated policing operations have been put in place to specifically target ongoing criminality in these areas. 

Armed support units, whose members are highly trained and equipped with a variety of non-lethal and lethal weapons, are supporting their uniformed colleagues by carrying out high visibility armed checkpoints and patrols throughout the region.

The Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration said this crime will not be allowed to continue, and “those engaged in these illegal activities will be brought to justice”.

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