DRUGS mixed by the Kinahan gang are sold in Portlaoise and the buyers are ‘respectable professionals’ rather than junkies in hoodies.
Deputy Brian Stanley made the claim at a meeting of the Laois Joint Policing Committee (JPC), as he said a number of people became seriously ill after taking illegal drugs they bought in the town.
“The people buying these drugs are not the stereotypical junkie in a hoodie,” he told the meeting in county hall. “They’re professional people who should have more cop-on and realise that they are feeding these drug dealers. This stuff is being mixed by the Kinahans and it is finding its way to Portlaoise.”
The Laois TD said he knew a number of professional people who became seriously ill after taking illegal tablets they bought locally. He added that drugs were behind a number of recent violent assaults in the town, which included attacks with weapons and a hurley.
His comments came during a meeting between senior gardaí, politicians and county council officials that focused on the county’s serious drug problem. On a positive note, Laois-Offaly Garda Chief Superintendent John Scanlan said arrests for sale or supply of drugs rose sharply after the establishment of a garda drugs unit in Laois earlier this year.
A total of 40 people were arrested for suspected drug dealing in the county between April and June this year alone as part of a garda ‘clean streets’ operation, an increase of over 90% on the same period last year.
Chief Supt Scanlan said there are “mini turf wars” among local drug dealers and criminal gangs and the establishment of a dedicated garda drugs unit is a big step forward in tackling the problem.
The development comes at a time when heroin is now second only to alcohol in terms of addiction levels in Laois and the midlands, according to the Midland Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force. Meanwhile, a new service in Portlaoise run by the Merchant’s Quay Project has found that the main drug addiction treated is heroin, followed by crack cocaine.