Drug dealers to lose their social welfare payments warns Garda chief
The head of the Garda Siochana in Louth has a clear message for drug dealers in the region - 'we are coming for your social welfare'.
In a hard hitting statement during the Mid Louth JPC meeting in the Market House in Dunleer, he spoke about the need to hit the dealers 'in the pocket'.
Chief Supt Christopher Mangan said he was 'looking at social welfare' in his fight against the criminals.
'They are not working and getting all the benefits.'
His remarks came after members of the public questioned the fact that 'known dealers' are driving around in 'big cars' with all the trappings and nothing seemed to be done about it.
'I deal with evidence and I need hard evidence. We don't operate like CSI Miami and solve cases in half an hour.
'I have no control over the budget we receive. I went over it last year and it will be over again this year.
'There was €1m in drugs seized in Ardee last year, but there is a huge market for drugs and cannabis herb is potent,' he remarked.
He said the gardai had put the squeeze on a lot of people and taken a lot of money and cars from them.
Now they were short of cash and were going after people with relatively small drug debts as a result.
'Criminals will be made pay for what they are doing to communities,' he vowed.
'We will target their assets and in one case we got €270,000.
'This won't end overnight and it will take a co-ordinated effort,' he warned.
While there were issues with people being stopped with small amounts of drugs, there were other elements that needed to be tackled too.
'Workers with income can spend €100 snorting cocaine and that's part of it too,' he warned.
He said that when people are charged with offences and get bail, then the gardai make sure they are observing those conditions.
'Tonight, gardai will call to homes before 10pm or 11pm and that happens every night.
'If there's an incident, we call to those homes immediately to make sure these people are where they are supposed to be,' the Chief Supt remarked.
A number of public representatives also spoke on the night.