Claim ‘free heroin’ being distributed in rural Limerick

Gardaí looking into matter as councillor says gangs using drug to gain control of youth

A Limerick politician has claimed that "free heroin" is being distributed in rural towns and villages in the west of the county to bring vulnerable youths under the control of a drug gang.

Speaking after a meeting of local politicians and gardaí on policing issues in the area, Sinn Féin councillor Seamus Browne claimed there was evidence that young people in the Newcastle West district are being sucked in by the gang with free heroin. Gardaí are looking into the claims.

"There is strong evidence that heroin is been provided for free in Newcastle West. That's to get people addicted. When you have people addicted, then you charge for it," Cllr Browne said.

Mr Browne said the families of young addicts are also threatened if the debt is not paid.


Drugs are believed to be behind a number of violent incidents in West Limerick in recent months, including shootings and the discovery of a bomb attached to a car.

Supt Tom O’Connor, of Newcastle West Garda station, said he was “taking a further look at the drugs situation” but there was no firm evidence free heroin was being distributed.

“The gardaí would welcome any information from any member of the public” that would back up Cllr Browne’s claims, he added.

Supt O’Connor called on the public “to help be the eyes and ears” of the force in the region.