An Garda Síochána currently has more diversity officers (GDO) than divisional drug unit officers according to figures seen by Gript.
A breakdown of national figures for the number of divisional drug officers according to Independent TD Carol Nolan shows that there were a total of 332 as of April 2023 while the number of diversity officers, according to figures from February this year, was 481.
According to Nolan the Laois/Offaly Divisional Drug Unit of An Garda Síochána has the lowest number of Garda members assigned to it when compared to every other county and garda division across the state.
While Laois/Offaly has just one divisional drug unit officer the region has 12 diversity officers.
“At the outset I want to commend the dedication and commitment of all Garda members right across Laois and Offaly who are operating in increasingly difficult circumstances,” said Deputy Nolan.
“However, this data makes it absolutely clear that the constituency is profoundly under-resourced when it comes to staff members being assigned to the Divisional Drugs Unit.”
An Garda Síochána says GDOs (Garda Diversity Officers) are “trained, developed and supported to actively engage with and attend to the concerns of minority, diverse and hard to reach communities,” with the unit tasked with policing so-called ‘non-crime hate incidents’.
At a time when Ireland reportedly tied for fourth place as the world’s largest cocaine consumer the divisional drug unit in Sligo/Leitrim has just 7 officers while there are 41 garda diversity officers.
Nolan said, “Offaly and Laois no more than most other counties are struggling to respond to the social and criminal harm caused by the sale and consumption of illegal drugs,” urging that the country be “properly resourced in the fight against drugs,”
A breakdown of officer numbers reveal that most regions have significantly higher numbers of diversity officers over divisional drug unit officers.