Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams attended a packed meeting of the Mid Louth Joint Policing Committee in The Market House, Dunleer on Thursday evening.
The meeting was called to demonstrate solidarity with a local family facing extortion and violence from drug gangs; to discuss the drugs crisis facing families and communities; and to hear from An Garda Síochána about their efforts to address the scourge of drugs.
The Louth TD commended Cllr Pearse McGeough and the JPC for calling the meeting and described the briefing from An Garda Síochána as “very useful, informative and helpful”.
Teachta Adams said:
“Along with Cllr Ó Murchú and Cllr McGeough I met the family who have made a stand against threats from a drug gang. They are being very brave and courageous. In my humble opinion they are not just making a stand for themselves. They’re making a stand for the rest of us.
“So the question for us is what are we going to do? It is therefore important that when this meeting is over that we have some clear idea about what we are going to do next.
“The most important information we were given this evening on this issue from the Chief Superintendent. He said we don’t have enough Gardaí. He told us that last year he was over budget and this year he will be over his budget.
“He and his colleagues also elaborated on stations that are only part time and why. It is clear that if you want boots on the street and Gardaí in the stations you can’t do if you don’t have the resources.
“The Chief Superintendent also said – and I know this myself from battling with the government – that there are not enough resources for the support services for drug addiction.
“Talk to any of the people at the coal face of dealing with drug addiction and with families suffering as a result of drug addiction, and they will tell you that they don’t have the resources.
“We don’t have proper mental health resources and our health service is starved of the means of providing a holistic service.
“Another striking point made by the Chief Superintendent is that if we fail to tackle the drug crisis effectively ‘we will lose a generation of our young people’.
“There is an old expression in Irish – Mol an óige agus tiochfaid siad – praise the youth and they will flourish – so I would like to suggest that we think of actions that the community can undertake to support An Garda Síochána.
“The community alert should be reactivated. We also need to reach out to our young people. And we particularly need to do what this family have called on us to do – give any information whatsoever to An Garda Síochána.
“The message from here should be very clear – we’re not putting up with this – we’re not putting up with what is happening here to a decent family who are doing their best because someone wants to make a profit on the back of an alleged addiction.”