The ship seized off the coast of Cork for possessing large amounts of cocaine is just the tip of the iceberg in the global cocaine trade.
That’s according to crime journalist Paul Williams following the largest drugs seizure in the history of the Irish State.
Seven people have been arrested so far following the drugs bust off the south east coast.
Mr Williams commended the Gardaí, Revenue and Defence Forces for seizing 2.2 tonnes of cocaine in an intelligence-led operation.
“[They] invested €70 to 80 million for a shipment worth €157 million and a potential street value of about half a billion,” he told The Hard Shoulder.
“It is a massive victory and a stunning victory.
“However, before we lose the run of ourselves, remember it was one shipment and this was an intelligence-led operation to catch that one shipment.
“It is one shipment in probably 20 that occurred yesterday alone elsewhere across Europe and down across West Africa.”
Mr Williams said the cocaine trade is a “vast industry” - and one intelligence-led operation doesn’t prove Ireland is equipped to handle it.
“It’s going to get through to the market no matter what because there is such an insatiable and growing demand,” he said.
“It's like trying to block a mountain stream and blocking its course - no matter how you block it, the stream will find its course and deviate.
“The coke trade in Europe is worth 13 billion – and Ireland is one of the biggest consumers of cocaine.”
Mr Williams also pointed out the navy’s important role in the drugs seizure – and the fact Ireland has a “dwindling” force.
“The Irish navy has depleted from a high of nine ships to one ship,” he said.
“This kind of operation is brilliant, but it’s a bit like having a district where the gardaí don’t leave the station unless there’s a months-long intelligence-led operation.
“The squad patrol car hasn't been out patrolling the areas, so about 40 other crimes are happening.”
Mr Williams said this fall in numbers and strength is the fault of successive Governments.
“That lies at the doorstep of, particularly, Fine Gael,” he said.
“A succession of Fune Gael defence ministers have allowed our defence forces to be run down to the ground.
“You only remember to cycle a bicycle when the wheels fall out.”
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