EXPECTATION Detective Superintendent Joe McKenna accepts public order offences will increase following lifting of restrictions.
Senior Mayo garda says increase ‘only natural’
A SENIOR garda in Mayo says the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions will inevitably lead to an increase in public-order and other drink-related offences.
From Saturday, pubs’ patrons were once again allowed to sit at bars and there was no requirement for social distancing. Four motorists were arrested in Mayo for drink driving over the weekend, and there was a small number of public order arrests in Westport, Claremorris, Ballyhaunis and Ballina.
The last two years has seen a considerable reduction in the number of public-order offences in the county. Detective Superintendent Joe McKenna told The Mayo News that while the number of public order incidents around the county was ‘not major’, such incidents are likely to increase with more people socialising.
“We have been in lockdown for two years and not living like we would normally be living. Social life was very much restricted … so you would expect some increase [now], because people are out again. It is only natural.
“When people were restricted, we had an increase in domestic violence because people were at home. It would possibly be the case that we will have an increase in public order [offences] again. Unfortunately, people get inebriated and incidents can arise when more people are out,” he said.
Det Supt McKenna added that despite the restrictions, drug dealers have continued to operate as before.
“Drug business never went away,” he said, explaining that last year the county saw as much activity in the drugs arena as had done the year before. The detective superintendent said that there is ‘always someone on the sidelines’ who is willing to take up the reins, and that it has been ‘business as unusual unfortunately’.
Last Thursday, a man in his 20s was arrested in connection with the discovery of €17,000 worth of suspected cocaine in a drug hide close to the Derrinumera landfill site between Newport and Castlebar.
The man, who has been described as a local, was arrested following a surveillance operation by members of the Mayo Divisional Drugs Taskforce. He was subsequently charged before being released on bail to appear before a court sitting in the near future.