Pat Flanagan column: ‘Ireland’s Narcos generation winning the war on drugs’ – Irish Mirror

Posted: November 30, 2019 at 9:47 am

If theres such a thing as the war on drugs the Government is Watford and the gangsters are Liverpool.

Unfortunately for the State, a lot of people are now supporting the narcotic equivalent of the Reds while an increasing number of younger men actually want to play for the team.

In the last few days weve seen the phenomena of the part-time dealer, an individual who, like a farmer, subsidises his income by dabbling in drugs.

Unfortunately for An Post worker Eoin Boylan it cost him his life but it wont put off other young men from following his criminal career path.

The likes of Love/Hate and a plethora of big-budget TV series like Narcos have a lot to answer for.

I have no doubt thousands of young men sitting in their living rooms are on the side of Pablo Escobar and not that of the law enforcement agencies opposing him in this never-ending war on drugs.

Along with the money, theres a certain cachet about being part of a drugs gang, especially if you have few other options in the way of gainful employment.

Theres a type of glamour to the extent Irish teenagers and young men are posing shirtless on social media with guns.

In their heads they are part of Mexican cartel or Nidge from Love/Hate especially when theyve been snorting their own product.

I know some of them and Im actually loosely related to a leading member of one gang which has been involved in dozens of recent incidents.

Five men have died in the killing fields of Coolock the latest is 22-year old postman Eoin Boylan who gardai believe was making around 1,000 a week from selling drugs.

His violent demise will not prevent others from taking his place or joining gangs no more than warnings from the authorities will deter the public from buying drugs.

For if the young men involved in the gangs are delusional so too are those who think they are going to win the war on drugs.

Simply urging habitual drug users to stop using cocaine and cannabis is akin to imploring bankers to stop screwing their customers its totally futile.

It goes along with the line that the unavoidable fact is violence shadows the drugs trade and there would be no drugs trade without the end user.

The trouble is it might be the case some people in the organisations making these pleas are drug users themselves.

It is not just the young who are fuelling demand as some in the media, legal profession, politics and banking also have a taste for coke.

Indeed some of our banks have been fined for laundering drug money... hardly a fitting punishment for a drugs war crime?

The public have been hearing his guff since after the murder of Veronica Guerin and the only difference from then and now is the gangs are better organised, have more guns and are less afraid to use them.

Weve been listening to these mantras for decades but recent statistics suggest cocaine use in Ireland has surpassed even Celtic Tiger-era levels.

As for winning the war on drugs, nothing could be further from the truth.

In the mid-1990s, John Gilligans gang was shipping in huge amounts of cannabis from the continent.

Now its believed Ireland is self sufficient when it comes to cannabis with the majority of the drug on the streets being produced in grow houses and its 10 times more potent than the stuff Gilligan imported.

Were it a legit industry its representative body, lets say Cannabis Growers Ireland would no doubt be boasting about an Irish success story.

Cocaine exporters would also be taking a bow as theres more than enough to go around here, leaving the Kinahan cartel able to open up new markets in lands as far away as Australia.

A Europol report this week warned Ireland has become an international base for the export of drugs.

The EU Drug Markets Report states Notably in Ireland many communities have been severely affected, with major impacts on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities and the functioning of local services and agencies.

This wont come as news to families on most of the housing estates around the country.

The widespread use of narcotics and the violence which followed it was once confined to the cities, but now drugs are everywhere.

Towns like Drogheda have rival gangs engaged in bloody feuds which has resulted in two deaths in the last three months.

Ive lost track of the murders Ive covered in my 25 years as a reporter and the situation regarding narcotics and violence is worse than ever.

The entire premise of the war on drugs is stupid in much the same way as the US Governments war on drink in the 1920s was idiotic and all Prohibition achieved was making the Mafia into the Kinahan cartel of its day.

Whether we like it or not, this State and the EU are facing stark choices and one involves the liberalisation of drug laws. The other is to carry on with the unwinnable war as communities continue to be devastated and the body count mounts.

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Pat Flanagan column: 'Ireland's Narcos generation winning the war on drugs' - Irish Mirror

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