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Father Gary Donegan: Police 'handcuffed by judicial system' in efforts to tackle Northern Ireland drugs problem

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Father Gary Donegan called for reform of the judicial system, which he said is "handcuffing police" in their efforts to tackle the drugs problem

Father Gary Donegan called for reform of the judicial system, which he said is "handcuffing police" in their efforts to tackle the drugs problem

Father Gary Donegan called for reform of the judicial system, which he said is "handcuffing police" in their efforts to tackle the drugs problem

Father Gary Donegan called for reform of the judicial system, which he said is "handcuffing police" in their efforts to tackle the drugs problem.

Earlier this month Fr Donegan hit out at "drug dealing parasites" during his homily at the funeral of father-of-one Deaglan Cole (22), whom he said lost many friends through the tragedy of addiction and suicide.

It later emerged Holy Cross Boys' Primary, Deaglan's former school, has lost 27 young people because of suicide or drugs.

Fr Donegan believes there is a clear link between suicide and drugs and he said children must recognise the dangerous relationship between the two.

"Toxicology reports show that the majority of the young people who have taken their own lives have either had illegal drugs, prescription drugs taken illegally, alcohol or some sort of cocktail of all of these things," he said. "But instead of leaving the funeral and going to a party of drink and drugs to celebrate Deaglan's life, we need to encourage young people to actually mourn him. This is a 22-year-old who should still be alive today."

The priest added: "I'm prepared to put my head above the parapet to call it out as it is and I'm willing to take the flak that comes with saying that drugs are wrong.

"This is ruining our society. The dogs in the street know who the drug dealers are.

"Does the court system need to be changed? Are the police's hands handcuffed by the judicial system?

"There needs to be an effective way to deal with Northern Ireland's drugs problem.

"I go to some of these houses and there's a sports car parked outside it. And they're just back from a 7-star hotel in Dubai.

"My car tax is up soon. If I don't pay it on time I could be stopped and fined.

"How are these people able to go around with impunity?"

Belfast Telegraph