Fianna Fáil TD, Mary Butler has criticised the Minister for Justice for allowing the numbers of Gardaí in the Waterford Drugs Squad to fall by 64% since 2010.
Deputy Butler was commenting after she received a response from the Tánaiste which showed that from a high of 14 officers in 2010, the number of Gardaí serving in the squad has fallen to 5 as of 31st Jan 2017.
“This is wholly unacceptable. Communities in both the city and county are afraid of rising levels of drug crime. Yet, we have fewer Gardaí directly working on detecting illegal drug-related activities than five years ago.
“The Tánaiste is attempting to lay the blame at the door of Garda management; however, the Minister sets overall direction and policy.
“She must understand that drug-related activities are on the rise in rural towns. Communities need a strong response from Government on this matter.
“This near two thirds decrease in numbers serving in the squad must be reversed, and a plan put in place to increase the overall number of Gardaí in the county must be put in place,” concluded Butler.