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  • Northside West

Meeting discusses drug surge

Tuesday, 9th October, 2018 8:00am

Story by Jack Gleeson
Meeting discusses drug surge

The meeting discussed the surge in cocaine and crack cocaine.

Meeting discusses drug surge

The meeting discussed the surge in cocaine and crack cocaine.

COMMUNITY groups in Ballymun met last week with members of the Fianna Fáil front bench team to discuss the recent surge in crack cocaine use.

The meeting follows open letters from Setanta GAA club and Ballymun Local Drugs and Alcohol Task Force (BLDATF) that highlighted a pronounced growth in crack cocaine use and activity related with drug dealing.

Minister with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne, responded to the concerns with a letter stating that the strategy recognised the need to respond to “current and emerging” trends such as cocaine and crack cocaine use.

She pointed out that a harm reduction campaign targeting cocaine and crack use had been launched in July and said Gardaí were promoting and embedding a new community policing ethos along with other initiatives aimed at identifying and addressing local issues.

Minister Byrne has also offered to meet a delegation from Setanta but local response to her letter has been lukewarm.

Local Cllr Paul McAuliffe (FF) invited representatives from youth services and other frontline groups to last week’s meeting with his party’s front bench team.

Delegates included deputy leader, Dara Calleary, spokesperson on children and youth affairs Anne Rabbitte and spokesperson on health with responsibility for the drugs portfolio, Stephen Donnelly.

“The meeting focused on the changing patterns of drug dealing and addiction, Garda numbers, the funding of youth services and after-school projects and finally the issues of unemployment and economic development in Ballymun,” said Cllr McAuliffe.

“I was so proud of the case put forward by the Ballymun community groups and the professional way they outlined the need to address the issues in the area.”

Cllr McAuliffe now wants a similar meeting involving a number Government Ministers to be arranged in Ballymun with community groups and agencies.

Meanwhile, Cllr Noeleen Reilly (IND), has described as “extremely worrying” new figures that show a decrease in Garda numbers in drug units across the state.

In two districts serving Northside areas, numbers have fallen from 57 in 2008 to 35 in July 2018.

“Drug related crime is on the increase in many areas and communities are really feeling the brunt of this,” she said.

“We have seen an increase in crack cocaine use in parts of Dublin which is very worrying and when you look at the decrease in Garda numbers in the drug units you can’t help but see the direct result of reducing resources.

“Open drug dealing is on the rise as well as burglaries from the homes and robberies from the shop as people look for means to feed their addictions.”

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