By Sean Moriarty
Provisional figures show that over 250 people were found to be in possession of illegal drugs in Killarney last year – an increase of 38 percent of the previous years 185.
Local gardai concentrated their efforts on tackling the use of recreational drugs, particularly during busy weekend activity and at night.
The local effort, named ‘Operation Snow’, was all part of a large-scale enforcement initiative in an effort to tackle recreational drug use in the town.
Local gardai particularly targeted the busy night-time trade in Killarney and worked closely with the owners and management of late bars and night clubs.
Plain clothes officers operated in late night venues and in adjoining car parks and laneways.
“I want to acknowledge the support provided by the licenced trade to this initiative,” Superintendent Flor Murphy told the Killarney Advertiser. “We specifically targeted the night-time economy in Killarney. The use of controlled recreational drugs goes hand in hand with the night-time economy in Killarney.”
Supt Murphy confirmed that the majority of those caught with drugs were from out of town, and that cocaine was the most common drug seized during weekends.
“There was a significant number of detections in relation to locals too,” Supt Murphy added. “All of these people will face prosecution, but in the case of young people, they will be dealt with under the Garda Youth Diversion Scheme.”
There was also increased enforcement on the roads in Killarney in relation to illegal drugs consumption and the number of motorists caught driving while under the influence of drugs also increased. Last year 19 people were arrested compared to just six in 2018, and this also reflects national trends.
Local gardai also gave talks to the town’s secondary school students in relation to illegal drugs and this is ongoing.
“This was about preventative measures, education and awareness rather than law enforcement,” he said.
“Tackling the supply and use of controlled drugs will be a priority for Killarney Gardai in 2020 and a variety of strategies will be utilised to achieve this, both in terms of enforcement and education.”
Members of the public can use the ‘See Something/Say Something’ initiative in a confidential manner to Gardai in relation to drugs by texting ‘KILLARNEY’ and your message to 50555.