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Dublin: 4°C Thursday 21 October 2021

Garda resourcing under spotlight as pre teens allegedly used in Ballymun drug trade

The drugs are cut and mixed in several locations before a network of taxis distribute the packages to dealers.

Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

CRACK COCAINE ADDICTS, a drug-ferrying taxi network and children younger than 12 being used to deal – these are just three issues affecting Ballymun as local reps for the region plead with the government for more resourcing.

Gardaí have been trying to contain growing tensions in the north Dublin region but a combination of reduced resources along with heightened drug use has resulted in Ballymun’s crime rate rising. 

The area is controlled by one large drug supplier – the person gardai believe is responsible for bringing crack cocaine into the area. This person is a well-known target for the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) and has a number of young men distributing the drug into a number of safe houses. 

The drugs are cut and mixed in several locations before a network of taxis distribute the smaller packages to dealers across Ballymun and its environs. 

From this supplier, there are a small number of gangs which buy the product wholesale and sell it on. 

A small number of homes in the area have been turned into crack dens, according to local reps, and there have been multiple complaints made to Dublin City Council about the ongoing problem. 

Gardaí believe the crack is coming into Dublin through the port and is, more than likely, shipped in along with the powdered form of the drug. The crack market has increased considerably in Ballymun over the last 18 months.

Crack is a smokeable form of cocaine made by chemically altering cocaine powder to form crystals or rocks, crack-cocaine produces a short but intense high with effects much stronger than the powdered version of the drug.

Ballymun has been blighted with a new wave of crime in the last 18 months – most of it as a result of drug dealing in the area. 

In August last year, two people were killed and another two were injured when a gunman opened fire outside a house on Balbutcher Road. One of the victims, Antoinette Corbally (40s), a mother of six, was the sister of convicted criminal Derek Devoy, who gardaí believe was the intended target of this hit.

Devoy was released from prison in 2015 after serving time for shooting at his neighbours and for an attempted post office robbery in Balbriggan, north Dublin. TheJournal.ie understands gardaí had warned him of the threat to his life around three months before the incident.

And it is associates of Devoy that gardaí believe are operating the crack trade across Ballymun.

Independent councillor Noeleen Reilly has written to four different ministers to highlight the growing problems in her area. 

She said that children with problems at home are being targeted by members of this drug gang and are used to deal. 

Young dealers

Gardaí believe in most of these cases, the younger children are used as spotters – informing the dealers of any suspicious activity.

The older children are more often used as drug mules. The young teenagers are more physically developed than the minors who are being used as spotters – making them a harder target to rob. It is understood a number of young people have been found in possession of drugs in the last 18 months. 

Gardaí believe this is a tactic used by top dealers to stop children from facing the full force of the criminal justice system due to their age. 

Reilly has alleged that many dealers are targeting recovering addicts with the drug and are then using their homes as safehouses when they eventually relapse. 

She said: “We have some very serious issues with addiction in the area and it is soul destroying seeing people who have been addicted in the past but managed to turn their lives now fallen back into crack cocaine addiction. 

shooting1 Gardaí at the scene of the shooting in Barnwell Drive in Ballymun. Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

“People with former addictions are actively being targeted and in some cases as I said above, their homes are being taken over.

Another group of people being targeted in the area is male children.  The papers reported this week that children as young as 13 are dealing drugs.  I would say there is younger. There are children still in primary school being groomed by criminal gangs to deal drugs.

“The vast majority of decent people in Ballymun are angry, terrified and very frustrated.  They don’t believe anything is being done from any stakeholder to address these issues.  The attendance at safety forum meetings has increased dramatically as people try and press the issues with Dublin City Council and the gardaí.”

Garda shot

“Ballymun has come so far in the last two decades.  It is a great community that I am proud and happy to live in and represent but I fear we are slipping back and I fear we will lose a generation of young people if we do not address the current issues.”

At the end of last year, a member of the gardaí was shot in the shoulder as he responded to a violent incident allegedly involving crack cocaine dealers. 

Gardaí attempted to gain access to a house in Barnwell Drive, Ballymun, when they were fired upon. One member was hit while an 18-year-old man who was inside the house also received gunshot wounds.

The house was also targeted in a drive-by shooting. A teenager was injured in that incident which was believed to have been part of an outbreak of gang-related violence in the Ballymun area.

In the last 12 months, a number of gangs have been battling to control a large area of the Ballymun drug trade. There have been a number of beatings and shootings in the last year in relation to this feud, one which gardaí fear could result in deaths.

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