Cocaine as easy to get as pizza in rural Galway, says FG councillor

Increase in the quantity of cocaine in circulation is understood to be driving trend

The value of illegal drugs seized in Co Galway increased by nearly 1,400 per cent last year, with cocaine now available “as quick as you’d get a pizza” according to one rural councillor.

Some €1.37 million worth of illegal drugs were seized in rural towns and villages in Co Galway in 2023, compared with just under €100,000 the previous year.

A drastic increase in the quantity of cocaine in circulation is understood to be driving the trend, with an estimated €750,000 worth of the drug seized in rural Galway alone last year, compared with €140,000 worth seized in Galway city and county combined in 2022.

The value of illegal drugs seized in rural Galway was more than twice what was seized in Galway city last year.


Galway chief superintendent Gerard Roche described the increase as “extraordinary” and said more Garda resources were being deployed to combat drug use in rural areas.

Fine Gael councillor Andrew Reddington, who is based in Headford, called for drug-prevention programmes to be rolled out in Galway primary schools and said young children were being offered drugs on social media.

“The people who are on cocaine now – adults, children and teenagers – they are already on cocaine and there is not a lot we can do about it,” he said. “But we can do something about preventing young people today from getting involved.

“A lot of the drugs which are being sold now to young people are being sold on Snapchat,” said Cllr Reddington. “Cocaine in my area, you’d get it as quick as you get a pizza. I know where you get it, and so do the young people.”

Connemara representative Pádraig Mac an Iomaire said he had “the fear of God” that his grandchildren would be sold drugs.

“The numbers have gone absolutely crazy over the past year. I have two grandkids coming through at the moment, and I have the fear of God of what might be put in front of them some day,” the Fine Gael councillor said.

“But if you tell kids about something when they are six or seven, it sticks in their heads. We need to get on to the Department of Education about more drug prevention in schools.”

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