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Gardaí Launch "Operation Tara" To Tackle Drug Trade


06:13 2 Jul 2021

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Gardaí say hundreds of extra officers will target street-level dealers as part of a local anti-drugs strategy.


Operation Tara, which was rolled out in part last year, is focused on disrupting the business model of gangs, by making arrests of low-level criminals and local drug peddlers.


Garda Commissioner Drew Harris says the hope is this will give communities more confidence in the police force.


"If millions are seized at sea, a local community does not see the benefit of that," Commissioner Harris said, continuing, "If we act locally, bring an individual whose recognised as peddling drugs to justice, that adds to the confidence of a local community that there's a law enforcement response to this."



Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll says this new approach by Gardaí is particularly important in poorer communities.


"In areas of deprivation, we see crack cocaine is replacing heroin as a problem drug, while in the nighttime economy in other locations we see wider use of cocaine is a problem and is expanding," the Assistant Commissioner said.


The Assistant Commissioner also said they are looking to help families being intimidated over drug debts.


Officers say dealers often try to blackmail users over relatively small amounts of money, with relatives then forced to get involved.


Assistant commissioner O'Driscoll says fighting drug intimidation will be a key area of this operation.


"I have particular sympathy for the unfortunate family members who get caught up in this sort of activity [...] and [The Gardaí] are determined to improve the situation that they find themselves in," the Assistant Commissioner said.


However, with an increased push to decriminalise drugs recently, there were some questions over this plan.


The Commissioner brushed this off, saying legalisation has not been fully thought through.


"I don't believe that we would just see the absence of organised crime groups. Should we legalise all of these drugs tomorrow, there'd be huge public health issues, but there would be ongoing crime issues as well," Commissioner Harris said.


No doubt further questions will be posed to Garda officials after the weekend over this new approach, as decriminalisation becomes an increasingly popular stance.










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Commissioner Decriminalisation Drew Harris Drugs Gardai