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Opinion: Garda officer's drug warning should be heeded

Focus has turned to tackling gangland crime after the murder of 17-year-old Keane Mulready-Woods
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A SENIOR gardai officer said some uncomfortable truths about people who use drugs 'recreationally' on Saturday following the horrific death of a young Drogheda boy.

Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan is in charge of the investigation into the murder of Keane Mulready-Woods in what is believed to be part of a gang feud.

Mulready-Woods was believed to have been kidnapped, tortured, killed and then his body dismembered and left at different locations, as part of a warning to rivals according to some reports.

Speaking on a Saturday morning radio programme Chief Superintendent Mangan warned those who purchased drugs that "They're providing profits for these people who are using their monies to buy guns, to shoot people, to contract out killings to people."

Mr Mangan went on "They need to realise coke is not a recreational pursuit – it's an act that fuels the murder of children like Keane and other people."

The officer said he hoped that the events of last week would act as a wake up call to those who provide the drugs demand that the gangs thrive on. Let's hope his hopes are realised but sadly the use of drugs is so firmly entrenched in the whole of Ireland that it is unlikely that one disgraceful series of events is realistically going to persuade all those users to change their ways.

Logically it falls to the police – Gardai and PSNI – to pursue not just the gangs which are supplying all drugs, but also the people who are buying the cocaine, heroin, marijuana and illegally procured prescription drugs.

While the gardai officer highlighted the most obvious effects on society of drug use it is important to remember that many thousands of lives are affected by the trade in many different ways.

Many left with serious ill-health, criminal records ran up as they try to fund their habit and entirely innocent people who are targeted by those drug users. Drug use has also contributed to the harrowing total of suicides in Ireland.

If only some people are persuaded by the words of Chief Superintendent Mangan, they will have been worthwhile. However it is unrealistic to believe a meaningful change to the habits of many of those people he was talkng directly to.


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