TRALEE'S most senior garda has warned that heroin is making a resurgence on the streets of the county capital.
Tralee Superintendent Jim O'Connor told a meeting of Tralee's Joint Policing Committee this week that heroin, which had effectively been eradicated from Tralee by the Kerry Divisional Drugs Unit, is beginning to reappear on the town's streets.
Supt O'Connor said the drug had begun to reappear in Tralee in the last four months. He said the level of the drug in Tralee was "nowhere near" where it was ten years ago but that "it is still a concern."
Garda crime figures for the six months to the end of June 2103 show that four people were arrested for possession of heroin for sale or supply. That compares with just one person in the same period last year. Between January and June this year five people have been arrested in Tralee for possession of heroin compared with three in the first six months of 2012.
Gardaí believe the resurgent heroin trade in Tralee is linked to a Lithuanian crime gang who are operating across Kerry and are the driving force in Tralee and Kerry's hard drug market.
Supt O'Connor said the gardaí had made a number of significant drug seizures in recent months and had successfully prosecuted a several high profile drug cases, involving significant quantities of hard drugs, in the courts in recent weeks.
Describing drugs of all kinds as "a curse on society", Supt O'Connor said he had the names and addresses of five young people, men and women aged between 22 and 28, who had died as a result of drug overdoses in Tralee in the last year alone.
During a subsequent debate on drug offending, and the merits of imposing suspended sentences in some drug cases, Cllr Sam Locke (Ind) (pictured right) said that the death penalty should be applied to anyone caught with more than €250,000 of drugs.