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'Crack cocaine and heroin sales are astronomical': Oliver Bond residents 'living in fear'

Drug-dealing has been an issue at the Dublin flat complex for many years, but residents say the situation is getting worse.

The Oliver Bond flat complex (file photo)
The Oliver Bond flat complex (file photo)
Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

RESIDENTS LIVING IN the Oliver Bond flat complex in Dublin city say they “live in fear” due to round-the-clock drug dealing and drug use.

Drug-dealing and anti-social behaviour have been issues at the complex for many years, but residents say the situation is getting worse.

A spokesperson for the residents’ committee told The Journal the area “has become a major hotspot for drugs”.

“Crack cocaine and heroin sales are astronomical. Drug users have flooded the area from far and near and drug paraphernalia is littered all over the place, it’s so easy for children out playing to pick it up.”

The spokesperson said residents “live in fear” and are intimidated if they speak out about their concerns.

They said “a very well-known drugs gang operates in shifts inside the Oliver Bond complex”, selling drugs “every day of the week”.

“This drug activity happens on the stairs and out in the open in the blocks in front of children and outside residents’ front doors. Residents are suffering constant fear and intimidation over this.”

Oliver Bond House is located in the south inner city (Dublin 8). It’s one of the largest and oldest flat complexes in the capital, comprising 391 units.

Residents say they regularly contact local gardaí and Dublin City Council (DCC) about “the clear and dangerous threat to locals living in the area, about the drug-use and anti-social behaviour that has plagued Oliver Bond, but the response is either slow or not at all”.

The residents’ committee has called for plans to regenerate the area to be fast-tracked, saying people cannot wait years for the issues to be tackled.

“It’s time now that something is done as life is already hard enough for people. Many residents in the complex are hard-working people bringing up their children the right way, but there are still too many who have blackened the name of the area and are continuing to get away with it,” the spokesperson said. 

Evictions

One DCC official told The Journal there has been a problem with drug-dealing in Oliver Bond House for many years – including both people living in the flats and drug-dealers coming in. They said the situation has worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is understood that drug-dealing at the complex is connected to the Kinahan crime gang.

The official said drug-dealing is a problem in a number of DCC estates across the city but that it is a matter for An Garda Síochána (AGS) to investigate and prosecute.

They said there is co-operation between gardaí and the council in this regard. They added that the council is considering a number of evictions due to drug-dealing at the complex.

When asked about residents’ concerns, a spokesperson for AGS told The Journal gardaí in Kevin Street “are committed to working alongside DCC and the local community to respond to concerns of anti-social behaviour in the area”.

“All reports of drug-dealing and/or anti-social behaviour are taken seriously. Local Garda management have implemented both high-visibility policing and other operations in the area over recent months targeting specific concerns. These operations are ongoing.”

The spokesperson added that AGS “also continues to engage in proactive patrolling in support of public health regulations and guidelines” amid the pandemic.

Rave

In September 2020, gardaí responded to reports of a large gathering at the complex.

Around 100 people were in attendance and footage of the party, showing crowds gathering at a marquee in the grounds of the flats, was widely shared online.

A number of sources told The Journal at the time that the suspected organisers of the party do not themselves live in the Oliver Bond Street area.

Sources also said that drug-taking during the outdoor party was “obvious” and that dealing took place with “total disregard for the local population”.

A Garda spokesperson yesterday told us: “Following an investigation a number of suspects were identified and file in the matter was forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions who has since directed that prosecutions be brought against three people.

“Summons applications have now been submitted by investigating Gardaí to Court Services, specific court dates have yet to be finalised.”

Regeneration plan

DCC has long-term plans to regenerate the flat complex and nearby area, with a spokesman describing this as “a priority” for the council.

The plans could take up to 15 years to complete, according to DCC architects, given the scale of the project.

In relation to anti-social behaviour in the complex, the spokesman said DCC “works very closely with An Garda Síochána, the statutory agency with responsibility for law enforcement, crime detection, drug enforcement and community policing”.

“DCC actively engages with the residents on an individual level to address issues brought to their attention and through the Robert Emmet CDP and attends meetings with resident groups to hear their concerns and shared information on planned and proposed work.”

He said DCC is finalising its application for funding for the first phase of the regeneration of the complex to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

The spokesman said: “Oliver Bond House comprises 391 units. The complex is fully tenanted and given its size and the scale of the regeneration it will be necessary to complete the regeneration plan over a number of phases. DCC will consider every opportunity to shorten and alleviate the timescale.”

He told The Journal that the council’s maintenance staff “have a high level of awareness and understanding of the living conditions within the 391 units” and are working to improve common areas, parking and play facilities in the complex.

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“Work will commence on a number of elements of this programme when Level 5 restrictions are removed,” he said.

“In addition, DCC’s maintenance staff are also examining the condition of windows and doors in the units for the purpose of identifying interim improvement works that could be could, subject to available funding, be done in advance of the main regeneration programme.

“These improvement measures will be implemented in collaboration with the residents.”

Designed by HG Simms, Oliver Bond House is a protected structure and was built in the 1940s.

The spokesman said the aim of the regeneration “is to make a positive intervention to the existing buildings to improve the quality of the living standards of the residents while respecting its architectural merits”.

With reporting by Cónal Thomas

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