Cllr Aiden Fitzpatrick (FF).

Drug deals taking place in the open

Drugs are being openly dealt in Cootehill, with dealers walking through local housing estates.

The issue was raised at the latest Cavan Joint Policing Committee meeting, where Councillor Aiden Fitzpatrick (FF) claimed he saw the issue with his own eyes.

“I’ve been contacted by people saying drugs are being sold openly on the street.”

He said he, along with fellow councillors Carmel Brady (FG) and Paddy McDonald (SF), met with residents of one housing estate in Cootehill recently.

“Two lads walked past with bags to sell drugs. They go at the same time every evening. I saw it with my own two eyes and I’m annoyed since thinking about it.

“They walked straight through a group of 30 people.”

He said it was time gardaí were “on foot in towns and housing estates” and claimed it “shouldn’t be that difficult” to catch those responsible if they leave at the same time every evening.

Cllr McDonald, identifying the housing estate as Drumnaveil, said gardaí should focus on the “bigger players” in the drugs game.

“We should be worried about the bigger players in BMWs and big houses. The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) should be forcing them to prove where the money comes from.”

Both councillors were clear drug dealing and drugs issues are not problems isolated to Cootehill, with towns and villages across the country plagued by similar problems.

Addressing the points made, Chief Superintendent Alan McGovern encouraged people to report information they have or their suspicions as gardaí can only then act.

“I’d always encourage people to use the confidential line. We can deal with it then once it’s reported. I encourage people to come forward.”

He admitted more Garda beat patrols are needed but said numbers locally are stretched.

“We’re still seeing the effects of Covid on new recruits. The benefits [of new gardaí] will be seen in five or six months.

He encouraged Cllr Fitzpatrick to engage with local Garda Superintendent Gordon Englishby about the matter.