There were 11 gardai attached to the divisional drugs unit at the end of October
NEW figures show the number of gardai assigned to the divisional drugs unit has halved over the past six years.
The figures which are contained in a response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane, shows that at the end of October, there were 11 gardai attached to the divisional drugs unit, which is based at Henry Street garda station in the city.
According to the figures, which were released by the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald the current allocation is down from 14 last year and from 22 in 2010.
While the number of dedicated personnel in the drugs unit has halved over the past six years, only one other garda division outside of Dublin (Cork City, 14) has more gardai assigned than in Limerick.
Members of the divisional drugs unit consist of detectives and undercover gardaí who are assigned to investigate the organised importation, storage and distribution of illicit drugs.
While resources can be allocated on a district-level from time to time, the divisional drugs unit is regarded as the primary weapon locally when it comes to illicit drugs.
And, despite the reduction in numbers, there have been several significant drugs seizures across the city and county this year as well as a number of successful prosecutions in the courts.
Since the figures were compiled, the former head of the divisional drugs unit, Alan Cullen, was promoted to the rank of inspector and is currently attached to Newcastle West garda station.
In her response to Deputy Cullinane, Ms Fitzgerald said while the allocation of personnel to drugs units is matter for Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan the enforcement of drugs legislation remains a priority.
“I can assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána continues to proactively and resolutely tackle all forms of drug crime in this jurisdiction,” said the minister.