Pubdate: Tue, 11 Dec 2007
Source: Irish Times, The (Ireland)
Copyright: 2007 The Irish Times


Gardai should raid house parties to search for cocaine, the Taoiseach 
told the Dail.

The recent drug-linked deaths was raised by Opposition parties who 
called for tougher action from the Government.

John Grey (23) who was laid to rest today, was the second man to die 
after eating damp cocaine at a house party in Waterford City a fortnight ago.

Model Katy French was buried in Co Wicklow yesterday as detectives 
continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding her death.

Reacting to public outrage at the growing cocaine culture, Mr Ahern 
today told the Dail he would like to see gardai raiding house parties 
to search for drugs.

"The question I have asked more than once in the past week is why 
don't gardai go into house parties where people are using cocaine," he said.

"The gardai have strong powers in this area and I would like to see 
them enforced more strongly. I want to be frank about that." Mr Ahern 
added that the drugs were not just being used in pubs and clubs in 
cities and towns.

He told TDs that the issue was rarely off the Cabinet table whether 
through gangland activity related to drugs, seizures related to the 
Criminal Assets Bureau or additional powers for the criminal justice system.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny asked: "Is it not time that there was a 
Cabinet-led initiative to deal with drug dealers, drug barons, drug pimps?"

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore added: "We have to smash the supply chain 
of cocaine and of other illicit drugs and we have to smash the drug 
gangs who are supplying drugs to our society."

The Taoiseach welcomed the current strong focus on drugs abuse. "We 
must be tough as a society. The powers are there. The legislation 
provides for ten-year or 14-year sentences for certain drugs 
offences. People can serve longer sentences for offences of this type 
than for murder."

"With the focus of public opinion on the issue, it is time for the 
Garda to step up its activity. The Government will do whatever it 
must do if more legislation or resources are needed.

"We must look to the enforcement of the measures and maybe be more 
harsh on those businesses and so on that tolerate drugs in any way." 
Mr Ahern also warned of the dangers of crystal meth.

"It's the new drug on the beat and it puts cocaine into a different 
perspective. It can cause enormous damage."
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