Increased drug activity in Westside, with "syringes strewn in places where children are walking and playing", is the result of cutbacks in funding for community supports, which have the greatest effect on young people.
This is the view of Sinn Féin senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, who raised the issue at today’s Galway City Joint Policing meeting. According to the senator, people in the area are increasingly concerned at the "open use of drugs in parks and alleyways" with "syringes strewn in places where children are walking and playing".
"I witnessed at least five syringes in one location backing on to a garden with a young family this weekend," said Sen Ó Clochartaigh. "I also heard of ongoing antisocial behaviour disturbances, where elderly single people in particular, are being targeted for abuse. Property is being damaged and people are being intimidated by a small handful of bullies."
The Connemara based senator argues that the "huge cutbacks in funding for community supports over the last number of years" has badly affected the Westside area, and that "more needs to be done to support the younger people and to keep them actively engaged with the local community".
He also said drug misuse must be seen "as a health and a justice issue", which must be followed up with "appropriate responses" from the relevant State agencies. He has called on the City Joint Policing Committee and gardaí to look at initiatives to tackle the level of drug abuse in the city with similar problems.
"More investment in the social and community sector in areas like Westside is essential," said Sen Ó Clochartaigh, "if issues such as drug abuse and antisocial behaviour are to be combatted properly, and the Government must make those supports available."