Belfast Telegraph

Police probing drug link to the sudden death of Co Down man

By Claire Williamson

Tributes to a young man who died suddenly have been led by his sister, who said he had "so much to look forward to".

Police confirmed they were investigating a possible drugs link in the death of Brian Finegan in the Kenlis Street area of Banbridge, Co Down, on Thursday evening.

Mr Finegan was in his 20s.

Three men, one in his 40s and the others in their 20s, were arrested in connection with the death.

Two of them were taken to hospital for treatment, one of whom was admitted.

Mr Finegan was from a well-known family in the town.

Tributes were posted to his Facebook page.

His sister said: "Our Brian was one of the best.

"He had so much to look forward to, my baby brother I miss him so much."

Local people described him as a "very nice young man" who was "well-liked" as tributes continued to flood in.

One said: "Best cousin ever sleep tight", and "always in everyone's hearts, rest in peace."

SDLP councillor Marie Hamilton said: "If this death is drug-related, there needs to be a hard-hitting television advertisment, because if this carries on it's just going to leave the whole area devastated.

"There has to be some kind of a crackdown on those that are leading these young people to this point.

"I feel absolutely heartbroken for the family, and so does everybody else I've been talking to," she added.

UUP councillor Joan Baird said: "It is dreadful for the family and the whole community.

"There are too many lives being taken and I wish that something could be brought in to take away this awful situation."

Upper Bann DUP MLA Stephen Moutray said it was a "very worrying turn of events".

He said: "The death of a young person rocks any community to the core, and this is no exception.

"It is no secret that Banbridge has a drugs problem, with five recent deaths in the community caused by drugs misuse.

"The PSNI and other relevant authorities must tackle this epidemic.

"The supply of these substances must be cut off and appropriate sentencing for those profiting from this multi-million pound industry."

UUP MLA Jo-Anne Dobson said Banbridge was "reeling" from the latest death in the community.

She said: "I would appeal to the local community to be vigilant and if they are aware that people are dealing drugs in their area to report it to the PSNI.

"The police have carried out a number of successful drugs raids, so it demonstrates how important it is that the police are provided with the information they need to wipe out drugs from our community."

Background

There has been a spate of drug-related deaths across Northern Ireland in the past year. Last month an inquest into the death of a young Banbridge man heard police have been unable to identify how a new drug that has killed 21 people was brought into the country. He was one of almost two-dozen people who have died after taking the substance, known by other names including "speckled cherries" and "green rolex".

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