Women turning towards cocaine use: Ciaran Carey sounds alarm

Ciaran Carey Limerick GAA
Photo by Seb Daly | Sportsfile

The former Limerick hurler spoke to the Limerick Voice about the rise of drug use in Ireland

By Liam Kelly O’Rourke

After struggling with alcohol and mental health issues during his playing career, Ciaran Carey has been working with people dealing with addiction issues for over a decade.  

The 52-year-old Patrickswell man has encountered people from every strand of society through his work with My Move Counselling and claims cocaine use isn’t exclusively a male problem. 

According to Carey, there is a significant issue with women in Ireland using cocaine, as they may believe it can help them lose weight.  

“It starts off so subtle but it’s within a year, six months, two years or three years they hit a wall, it’s gone from once a month, to two or three times a week to every day.”  

According to the latest Drug Treatment Data study from 2014 to 2021; cocaine use amongst women had increased from 14% to 21% within the seven-year period.  

However, the rise in use of the substance is seeping into every aspect of society according to Carey.  

“It isn’t getting acceptable but I the people who are engaging in it are doing their level best to make it as normal as they can.   

“Once upon a time, they were doing it in the toilets. Now they’re gone to the stage [where] they’re whipping it off the keys at the bar stool.”  

Carey says that people are surprised at the type of person that is engaged in taking cocaine now.  

In February, the Labour Party’s Justice Spokesperson Aodhan O’Riordain called on the government to hold a citizen’s assembly on drug use by the summer of 2023 with many people calling for its use to be decriminalised – a development Carey wouldn’t welcome. 

“The bottom line here is the need to look at people, you know, everybody has a job to do, the guards have a job to do but locking someone up that are after buying a bag of hash or some weed or cocaine, that’s not the answer… But, if they went down the road of trying to legalise weed, legalise hash and legalise coke I believe our country would be mostly broken within two years.” 

As the old saying goes – ‘prevention is better than cure’ and the former Limerick star  

thinks education is key in combating drug use and addiction. 

“I believe the greatest education you can give your loved ones is in the classroom in your home.  

“And believe it or not, if we are to educate young kids in and around their own mental health and addiction it’s from sixth class up”. 

Ciaran along with other well-known figures including Kildare footballer Conor Harris have been giving drug awareness presentations to sports clubs across the country in recent months, so, how important is education within sporting environments such as the GAA?  

“They’re taking their heads out of the sand. I think a lot of people know or are acknowledging and are aware that it is in our community.  

“It is in our GAA clubs but it isn’t just a GAA problem – it’s across the board. It has no boundaries.” 

Mr. Carey is now an accredited member of the Addiction Counsellors of Ireland and works with My Move, an addiction support and counselling centre who have recently opened a premises in Limerick City.  

The former treaty hurler sees problems of all kinds but is urging people who need support to come forward. 

Carey feels that the biggest stumbling block in lowering the numbers of people taking cocaine is users not feeling like they can get the help they need. 

His presentations around the country are spreading the word about the drugs prevalence in society but feels like the audience is missing one important section.  

“The people that really need to be there and hear the message aren’t’’. 

If you or a loved one require support you can contact MyMove on 061 639010.

More stories from our 2023 print edition

Paul Keaney.

UL Sigerson players look back on run to final 

Sigerson captain Emmet McMahon and Paul Keaney speak about the team’s chase for national glory 

8 February 2023; Emmet McMahon of University of Limerick. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

By James Roulston Mooney 

Reaching the Sigerson Cup final this year was a source of immense pride for both Emmet McMahon and Paul Keaney.  

The side repeated the feat that their 2022 counterparts achieved and even knocked out the title holders University of Galway along the way. 

However, they fell one game short of the top prize for the second year running when University College Cork got their revenge for a round one home defeat with an extra-time win over UL in the final. 

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t really upset for a couple of days after it,” said captain Emmet McMahon.  

He is proud of how his team rallied around each other throughout the tournament to get to the same stage as last year, despite not being fancied to. 

“It was unfortunate we didn’t get over the line but the run that we had throughout the whole thing was great. At the very start of the competition, we would have been definitely down the list.” 

He described this year’s run as an enjoyable experience, one that felt fresh due to the nature of college football. 

McMahon, Paul Walsh and other remaining members of the panel from last year embraced new players as the likes of David Clifford departed with their degrees. 

The round one win over UCC at the Mardyke underlined the potential this team had and as the competition went on.  

The captain said that he found his role was easier to conduct than he had expected because of the amount of leaders that the side had. 

“You kind of need leaders all over the pitch. It’s not like once you’re given the captaincy it’s like you’re the be all and end all.” 

The Clare forward knew that if he couldn’t put the ball between the sticks on one occasion, the likes of Ciaran Downes was more than capable of stepping up and driving the team ahead when he was called upon. 

One such person that stepped up was first-time Sigerson panellist Paul Keaney, whose role as the placed balls specialist on the side proved key to UL’s campaign. 

The team scored 11-77 in six games with Keaney top of the pile in the squad with 0-22 to his name. 

He may have been a new player on the panel, but he felt the trust that the other lads. 

“You’re making friends through [being on the panel] as well…being exposed to different players, different [styles of play], learning a few things off lads be that watching them in the games or training.” 

Paul’s first year on the panel meant that he had to adjust to the Sigerson schedule and adjust his own to accommodate it.  

With other commitments such as club, inter-county or even work also factored in, it can leave little time to focus on your degree. 

“Those games you’re nearly 6 or 7 hours gone,” Keaney explained. It’s nearly the entire day gone so your kind of trying to chase yourself to get back on top of your studies again.” 

Keaney made the most of his time on the panel this year, scoring 16 frees helping his team overcome some tough opposition, with his finest hour coming against the University of Galway. 

The Leitrim player notched seven scores on the day, six from frees, to help his side get a momentous win. 

The two players paid tribute to Brouder and his coaching staff for the way they handled this season. 

“Declan kept on reiterating throughout the year that this is a new team, a new group of players,” McMahon noted.  

“And that’s kind of the beauty of college football as well – no one team is ever the same.” 

The UL coaches also left it up to interpretation whether players who were involved in 2022’s run to the final wanted to use the memories as motivation for 2023 or not. 

However, what stood out to both men this year was the man-management qualities of the coaching group.  

They allowed their players to feel comfortable in the environment they co-existed in, and the momentum UL had in the latter stages of the Sigerson was partly down to the trust in the members of the panel. 

Paul Keaney said: “It felt like when we were really put under pressure, we actually kind of excelled to that higher level and just finished games out.”  

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