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Burke calls on Government to deploy navy against drug smugglers not fishermen

28 May, 2009

Dublin Central by-election candidate Cllr. Christy Burke has sharply criticised the Government over its handling of the drugs crisis – in particular its efforts to prevent the importation of drugs on to the Island.

Cllr. Burke was reacting to the news that Irish naval services had in the last three years boarded almost 6000 boats on suspicion of breaching EU fishing regulations while only boarding 13 boats on suspicion of drug smuggling.

Cllr. Burke said, “This is messed up thinking. We have a drugs crisis not just in this city but across the island. People are dying. Drugs and flooding in to this country not just for the market here but as a springboard in to British and northern European markets. And where are the Government directing our resources – our naval resources? In the last three years they stopped and searched 6000 fishing boats on suspicion of breaching fishing regulations. At the same time they boarded 13 boats on suspicion of drug smuggling.

“Surely the prevention of drug smuggling and the devastation it causes to communities all across the country is a much higher priority than hounding fishermen out of business.

“This Government needs to get its priorities right. We need a robust response to the drugs crisis. We need all the apparatus of the state, including the naval services, deployed to prevent drugs reaching the country in the first place and we need investment in treatment and prevention services on the ground not cuts.” ENDS

Note to Editor:
Information released through parliamentary question to Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Boats boarded by Naval Service

Suspicion of drug smuggling Suspicion of fishing breaches
2006 - 3 2006 – 1,897
2007 – 5 2006 – 1,846
2008 – 5 2008 – 1,920

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