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Tuesday 19 November 2019

Bad batch leads to first poitin raid in nearly 30 years

Enda Cunningham

Gardai have raided a poitin operation in Connemara, Co Galway -- the first crackdown in almost 30 years.

It comes after a huge increase in the availability of "poor quality" poitin in the west of Ireland.

It's the first raid on moonshiners in the Gaeltacht area since 1984, when the country was in its last recession. The latest downturn has led to a surge in poitin consumption in its traditional marketplace.

On August 19, gardai seized and destroyed poitin wash and still equipment in a raid on a disused shed near Leitir Moir in south Connemara.

It's understood to be the first raid on a 'mountain dew' operation in the area in almost 30 years. The raid was carried out by gardai from Carraroe and Leitir Moir at around noon on the commonage land.

Gardai raided the shed after reports of a particularly 'dangerous' batch of the illicit drink being on sale.

A garda spokesperson told the Irish Independent: "Poitin making equipment, a still and a worm were seized, as well as barrels of prepared wash and a barrel of poitin. Investigations are ongoing.

"Poitin is produced illegally under uncontrolled circumstances and we would advise people against consuming it."

Glass bottles of 'regular' poitin are available for around €10, while locals have expressed concern about very poor quality batches of the moonshine, which sell for around €5 per bottle.

"There is a growing availability of poor quality poitin. It's like drinking pure ethanol," one local said.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, gardai carried out regular raids on moonshiners in Connemara -- at one point the cat and mouse game saw poitin makers breaking into the garda station in Inverin and stealing poitin which had been seized 24 hours earlier.

Irish Independent

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