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  • Southside

Gangs use kids as young as 12 to run drugs

Wednesday, 18th December, 2019 8:00am
Gangs use kids as young as 12 to run drugs
Gangs use kids as young as 12 to run drugs

A NEW report that shows how children as young as 12 are being used by criminal gangs on the Southside has been described as “deeply concerning”.

The report, entitled 'Building Community Resilience’, revealed how criminal networks in areas between the Liberties and Walkinstown use children as runners who are considered “expendable”.

The research was carried out by Dr Johnny Connolly from the University of Limerick Centre of Crime, Justice and Victim Studies,

The report prompted Deputy Jim O’Callaghan, Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Justice and Equality, to express his alarm and anger at the findings.

“This report has found that children as young as 12 years of age are being groomed into gangs in the south inner city,” Deputy O’Callaghan said. “It makes for disturbing reading. Our children and our communities are being failed.

“We have prepared draft legislation that of passsed, would make it an aggravated offence to use children in the supply or purchase of illegal drugs.

“And it would be an important weapon in the battle against these gangs.

“We are calling on all parties in Dáil Éireann to put politics to one side, to wake up to the abuse of children that is ongoing by these gangs and to get behind this Bill,” Deputy O’Callaghan added.

Local Senator Catherine Ardagh, also called for the fast fracking of the new bill to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, which would criminalise the purchase of a controlled drug from a child.

It would also serve to criminalise the act of causing a child to be in possession of a controlled drug for sale or supply and to provide for related matters.

“People involved in criminality and who are actively recruiting teenagers and children as young as 12 must realise that this type crime is causing widespread devastation to families and communities in the south of the city,” Senator Ardagh said.

“There needs to be an approach ensuring support for vulnerable young people. Our new bill would protect children from being used in drug gangs and would stop widescale abuses of power these gangs have over vulnerable children.

“We are calling on all parties in Dáil Éireann to put politics to one side and to get behind this Bill.”

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here