AN investigation into claims that heroin was being given away free in Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale had revealed it was not widespread, Supt Tom O’Connor said in Newcastle West this Wednesday.
“The sale of heroin is not widespread,” he told the Limerick Leader. He had thoroughly investigated the claim, made at a meeting of the Newcastle West Municipal District, and said he had come across just one case of a criminal from Limerick city giving heroin free to one or two individuals.
But he intimated he was expecting further developments shortly in the crack-down against crime and drugs in the district.
Meanwhile, he said, a new garda station would be the best option, given the current overcrowding at Newcastle West garda station. Supt O’Connor, now in charge of the amalgamated Garda districts of Newcastle West and Askeaton, described the current station as “essentially a three-bedroom bungalow”. And it was far too small and unsuitable for the 80 garda officers for whom it is now their headquarters.
He also described the health and safety conditions at the station as unsatisfactory. Earlier, he told councillors at the February meeting of the Newcastle West Municipal District that he felt a new station, to be built at the rear of the current one, was the best solution. “The land is available,” he said.
He acknowledged, however, that finance was an issue.
Speaking to the Limerick Leader afterwards, Supt O’Connor said the minister responsible for the OPW, Minister Simon Harris, had visited Newcastle West station and had given assurances that he would support prioritising their situation.
“There are several options: an extension, renovation or a new build,” the superintendent said. “My own preference would be for a new build.”
He also revealed that he had carried out a health and safety analysis of the station, and would be sending the results of that to his superiors by the close of business this Friday. While he was not forthcoming on what the analysis contained, he said it was “unsatisfactory”. But, he added, using Abbeyfeale to ease the overcrowding in Newcastle West was not really an option as it was at the very far end of the district.