A SENIOR policing figure revealed a shocking revelation at a recent policing conference in Waterford City Hall on Monday night.
Policing Ireland representative Margaret Tumelty made the startling revelation that children across the country are being recruited into the drug trade.
Ms. Tumelty spoke about the devastating impact of drugs across communities and how it is affecting the most vulnerable across Ireland.
She said: “This isn’t just Dublin, this is right across the country.
“It’s about not wanting to let the kids out in regards to children being recruited as runners for drugs between the age of 8 and 12. In one instance there was a child at the age of 6 being recruited.”
Ms. Tumelty explained why children are being lured into the drug trade, saying: “It’s handy money, you get a few bob for bringing drugs from Point A to Point B and it lures vulnerable children in.”
Ms. Tumelty stressed how many communities’ everyday rituals have been affected by the drugs trade.
She said: “Working with communities it came across how little they wanted – to have respite, to be able to go to the shops, to go through the stairwell without there being dealers.
“There is a real solid appreciation that there are limits to what the Gardaí can do, but with that there’s the exasperation as to why the agencies can’t come together.”
She went on to emphasize how communities are frustrated with the lack of focal points to gather at.
She said: “One issue we heard from communities was the idea of there not be being a table where they can gather to voice their concerns. They felt that the Joint Policing Committees (JPCs) are too high level, a lot of people aren’t members of groups, they aren’t members of organisations, they’re just ordinary people.
“One community talked about how they had a community child play area that was being repeatedly vandalized despite their having to do a lot of fundraising.
She ended: “To them this embodied their sense of grim neglect, the sense that nobody cares.”