Cannabis capital of County Wicklow’
FIGURES released this week show that cannabis seizures in Arklow by the Gardaí far outstrip the amounts for Bray over the last three years.
According to statistics obtained by Fine Gael Deputy Billy Timmins in a Dáil question, the estimated street value for cannabis seizures in Arklow in 2002 was €17,765, compared with just €3,073 for Bray.
In 2003, the disparity was even greater with the cannabis seizures in Arklow having shot up to €63,800 compared with €19,291 for Bray, which has over three times Arklow’s population of ?10,500.
But in 2004, the cannabis seizures slumped in both towns - just €1,375 for Arklow while Bray had more with a total of €9,688.
Arklow also topped Bray for heroin seizures in 2004, the respective figures being €7,575 for Arklow and €1,810 for Bray, while the alarming figures also show smaller amounts of ecstasy, herbal cannabis, cocaine, methadone, rohypnol and amphetamines being seized by Gardaí in drugs swoops.
Deputy Billy Timmins said that the plight of drugs is one of the greatest dangers in society today and many young people are putting their lives in danger. The demand for funding for drugs has also lead to an increase in crime in communities and resources must be made available to the Gardai.
Cllr Nicky Kelly said that they now had over 100 heroin addicts in Arklow; it was a very serious problem and the unfortunate reality was that the vast majority of these people were from their own community.
He said that he was one who had opposed the setting up of a methadone clinic being set up in Arklow but at that time the number of heroin addicts could be counted in single figures.
‘Now the time has come to bite the bullet on this issue, but if the Health Board is to set up a methadone clinic in Arklow it must be accompanied by all the appropriate supports and outreach facilities for the drug addicts and their families and then they may have reasonable success in rehabilitating addicts’ he said.
‘We cannot turn our back on the drug problem in Arklow, it is far too serious at this stage. We have to address the overall issue and provide the supports’ he added.
Cllr Bill O’Connell said that over the years he had been calling for appropriate services for addicts in the town of Arklow. Unfortunately this did not happen due to a lot of local opposition. Now it seems that a lot of people who were then opposed to these type of services being provided are now beginning to realised that are very necessary.