West Clare communities are being destroyed by heroine users, it was claimed this week.
A 19 percent reduction in drug related offences occurred in Clare between December 2008 and 2018. Last year, a total of 318 crimes linked to drugs were reported in the county, which was three less than the year previous.
Speaking at Monday’s meeting of the Joint Policing Committee, Kilrush councillor Ian Lynch outlined that a serious drug problem exists in West Clare. “Sometimes councillors are wary about talking about these things in public in case the local media pick up on it but it has gone beyond talking about it behind closed doors, it is at a critical point, this addiction is out of control and we’re losing our future”.
At the September meeting of the West Clare Municipal District, he proposed a five year action plan be devised “to tackle the ongoing social, criminal and addiction issues experienced in West Clare”. The Independent councillor was unhappy with the lack of progress on the plan. “The plan is about addiction across the board, it doesn’t sound unrealistic but no one has taken it on. None of the agencies care about it, I’m not blaming the Gardaí but the JPC is about protecting communities and we are losing our communities. The heroin situation is unreal and you have no idea unless you see it first hand. It is time someone stood up”.
“We’re in election mode here, the next Dáil elections are in play and I’m putting it to every single candidate, between now and then I want each of those candidates to commit to get something done about the drug situation. There is people on the street harassing and begging people, we need action on this and we can’t talk about it behind closed doors. I want action on this,” Cllr Lynch concluded.
His views were supported by Cllr Alan O’Callaghan. “There are a lot of families under pressure because there is unwanted people coming knocking on their door, they have to go to credit unions, get loans and remortgage homes. It is frightening to say because it has gone into every society, the GAA, soccer clubs, it has gone into every corner in Clare, we’re on a very slippery slope,” he warned.
“It is an epidemic,” Cllr John Crowe declared. “The amount of robberies in last couple of weeks is frightening and I feel it is all drug related. It is money these people are at to fuel their drug problem. Communities will have to come together and try do something about this. There are people living at home that are afraid to answer their door. It is all related and is down to the drug problem we have, Ian is right there is no point talking about it we need action,” the Sixmilebridge councillor said.
Council Director, Leonard Cleary told the meeting two meetings discussing the issue were held “in very recent times and both Gardaí and Clare County Council participated”. 20 organisations were present at the meeting according to Cleary. “There will be a meeting scheduled in the next two weeks, there was a huge response from agencies. We will take it to the next step along the project path. There is a very definite plan on the way and there is a commitment to West Clare and to acknowledge agencies are putting their shoulder to the wheel”.