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crackdown

Gardaí vow to clean up Dublin city centre streets plagued by crack addiction

Workers and businessowners in the area described how they are often the victims of physical assaults and threats.

GARDAÍ HAVE VOWED to clamp down on serious anti-social behaviour occurring in Dublin city centre caused by a huge increase in the use of crack cocaine in the capital. 

Use of the drug, which is a powerful stimulant, is the worst it has been for over a decade, according to outreach workers as well as local business owners. 

The Journal last week visited the North Lotts/Liffey Street junction on the northside of the Ha’penny Bridge and witnessed first-hand the devastation being caused by the drug use.

As a result of the article, we received information about various other areas which are being blighted by crack use and the discarding of drug paraphernalia. Just up from Liffey Street and on to Abbey Street Upper, we found mounds of makeshift crack pipes as well as pools of blood and discarded syringes. 

The following could be seen in the area: 

279341389_532081435204973_1836420428174538381_n Drug waste, blood and syringe wrappers litter an area near Abbey Street in the capital.

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Workers and business owners in the area described how they are often the victims of physical assaults and threats, with many saying they have to ring gardaí multiple times a day. 

In a response to a question regarding the policing of the area posed by this publication, gardaí said they are allocating additional resources to ensure the safety of the public over the summer months. 

A garda spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that Gardaí attached to the Store Street District have increased patrols of the North Lotts / Liffey Street area and environs under Operation Citizen and Operation Boardwalk to counter antisocial activity in this area.”

The exact number of additional patrols is unknown.

Last year, gardaí launched Operation Citizen to target anti-social behaviour and other crimes in Dublin city centre. 

Operation Citizen, gardaí said, involves 100 gardaí patrolling the areas around the Liffey Boardwalk and the quays. The guards are deployed on foot and and on mountain bike patrols – with 20 officers on the streets and supported by a further 12 mobile patrols across the four city centre garda stations. 

Operation Boardwalk has been in effect for several years and looks to specifically combat drug and anti-social behaviour on the boardwalk itself. 

Local kebab shop owner Cengiz Guler told The Journal that they have often been told more was going to be done by gardaí under such operations, but he and his staff saw no discernible difference.  

“We have been here a long time and there has always been a problem with these people. They have come and attacked me and my staff for no reason other than they are high and confused and angry. 

“We call the garda all the time but they don’t show or they say there is nobody to come. This is crazy. This is the city. How can there be nobody to come? 

“We will have to wait and see what happens now in the next while because things cannot go on the way they are. They are the worst I have ever seen.”

Crack cocaine became popular in Ireland around 10 years ago. Use of the drug – which provides users with a short, intense high much stronger than powder cocaine – has been increasing at an exponential rate.

The amount of cases of people seeking treatment for problem crack cocaine use has risen by 400% in recent years, according to the latest national statistics published by the Health Research Board (HRB).

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