The South Mayo area is in the grip of a "drug epidemic" according to a local Fianna Fail Councillor.

The issue was discussed on Friday at a meeting of the Mayo Joint Policing Committee.

Chief Superintendent of the Mayo Garda Division Pat Diskin told the JPC meeting that the number of drug offences detected by Gardai in Mayo has increased significantly over the past year.

He said there were 240 detections for drug offences last year - including 51 detections for sale & supply of drugs - an increase of 122% on the previous.

Drug cultivation offences increased by 25% last year.

Ballinrobe-based Councillor Damien Ryan expressed concern about drug-dealing in the south Mayo area, due to its proximity to Galway city.

Councillor Ryan said local teachers have brought the issue to his attention, and he called on Gardai to implement a pilot scheme to tackle drug use in the area - which would include increased surveillance and undercover activity.

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