Sinn Féin TD for Meath West Johnny Guirke has warned that the government’s shameful under-resourcing of Garda drugs units is failing local communities in the area.

New figures show that local drugs units still have fewer Gardaí than a decade ago when austerity cuts were implemented. This is despite government claims to have invested in services

Guirke told Meath Live, “Drug dealing and addiction devastates far too many lives here in Meath West. Much more needs to be done to clamp down on dealers who terrorise local communities and the lives of ordinary people living here.

“New figures show that for all the government’s lip service to tackling drug dealing, they have in fact failed to properly resource Garda drugs units so that there is sufficient staff to tackle this scourge.

“Staffing levels in drugs units are still too low at just 5, austerity-era lows, despite government claims to take this issue seriously. Staff in these units are trying their best to protect communities but they feel abandoned and let down by this government’s failure to invest.

‘’We have 210,000 people living in County Meath and just 1 Sergeant and 4 Gardai actively working in the Drug unit in Meath.

‘’2009/2010 we had 10 Gardai in the drug unit with a population of around 184,000 people in Meath. That figure has risen 25,000 since and we have halved the drug unit workforce.

‘’Meath has been swamped with drug gangs for years now, and the Gardai have done a tremendous job tackling dealing in the County and a number of large seizures have taken place in recent months.

“I am urging the government to get their act together and ensure that they invest in the Gardaí, so that they have appropriate staffing levels and resources in these drugs units. This is far too important an issue for the government to be penny-pinching and spinning that their level of investment is far more than it is. Ordinary, decent communities are being left to suffer as a result of the government’s mishandling of this issue. This cannot continue.”