We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.


Six drug deals and a fistfight at a Dublin shopping centre: One hour at a crack cocaine hotspot

There have been reports of open dealing of the drug in other areas of the city and in some suburbs.

Pic (1) The alleged dealer holding a number of deals of suspected crack cocaine.

LOCALS IN PHIBSBOROUGH say they’re shocked and frustrated at the level of street crime, as drug dealers openly trade in crack cocaine at the North Dublin area’s main shopping centre. 

There are concerns the worsening situation may be linked to cutbacks to garda drug units that normally patrol the area. 

Use of the drug – which provides users with a short, intense high much stronger than powder cocaine – has been on the increase in Dublin city centre since the summer of 2017. 

More recently, there have been reports of open dealing of the drug in other areas of the city and in some suburbs. 

On a recent weekday morning at Phibsborough shopping centre witnessed half a dozen suspected drug deals and a fist fight where one man punched another several times from above in what gardaí suspect was a row over drugs.

At one point, a woman apparently dealing drugs crossed the road holding cash and several small packets of suspected crack cocaine. 

The fight broke out shortly afterwards as shoppers continued to carry groceries out to their cars from the bustling supermarket. 

The centre, which is soon to be redeveloped, is housed beneath a landmark building which also happens to house the headquarters of Garda representative organisations the GRA and AGSI.   

All incidents we witnessed occurred from around 11am.

Informed sources described to this website how the woman selling suspected crack-cocaine and her partner were the main dealers of the drug in the Phibsborough and Cabra areas of Dublin. 

Lithuanian gangs are also back dealing in the area and control most of the heroin supply, sources say.

A large number of street drug users have also made their way back to areas such as Phibsborough and the North Circular Road (NCR).

There are concerns that this is because there is a lower police presence in the area.  

Both the NCR and Phibsborough were previously the target of a Divisional Drugs Unit which carried out undercover operations across the area. 

Dealers, users and other petty criminals were routinely searched and had drugs confiscated.

Due to the high garda presence, many users and dealers who were frequenting the area moved back to locations closer to the city centre.

However, patrols of the northside area by the drug unit have reduced after a shake-up within a north Dublin drugs unit.

Five members of one drugs unit were removed and sent to new stations. New and relatively inexperienced officers replaced them.

A spokesman for the Garda Press Office said that the Divisional Drugs Unit was still fully operational and that a number of new officers had recently been added to it. 

There is still a garda presence by those attached to uniform divisions but the frequency of patrols as a whole has reduced.

cccrack Crack cocaine. Shutterstock / Kevin L Chesson Shutterstock / Kevin L Chesson / Kevin L Chesson

There are still armed support patrols in the area, but their main focus is to prevent serious violent crime.

Sinn Féin councillor Janice Boylan, who lives in the affected area, said she witnessed drug crime and anti-social behaviour every day. 

“What we’ve seen now is an increase in crime in the area. The numbers have increased because there’s no visibility out there.

“Not as many gardaí are being able to stop and search people they suspect of being involved in criminal activity.

“There are children who are afraid to use public spaces because of rampant drug use and it’s not good enough. 

I live here. I see people outside clinics or begging outside shops, drinking in public, causing trouble in parks. It’s unworkable – families have been calling me saying there is nowhere to bring their young family because the parks are just too dangerous. 

Garda problems

Gardaí based on Dublin’s northside have been trying to combat the rise of the drug with the resources they have. 

Cuts to overtime as well as staffing changes with drug units have led to what has been described by informed sources as a ‘slowdown’.

Intelligence gathering has stalled in certain stations such as Store Street, meaning that areas which would have previously had active undercover units now don’t.

Contact me in confidence by downloading the Threema app. My ID is 3UTJ6TTE. See more details here.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel