#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 5 July 2022
Advertisement

Undercover gardaí to clamp down on 'rampant' cocaine use at League of Ireland games

There has been a significant increase in crowds at the League of Ireland this season.

Image: Shutterstock/biDaala studio

UNDERCOVER GARDAÍ AS well as uniformed officers are clamping down on ‘rampant’ drug use at League of Ireland football matches, The Journal has learned. 

Officers attached to drug and public order units have been carrying out operations targeting drug use at games. Dublin-based clubs as well as those in Louth are understood to be among those being patrolled and monitored, sources said. 

This publication spoke to many fans, including people attached to several Dublin teams’ supporters’ clubs, about the increase in drug use among the crowds at matches since Covid restrictions were lifted earlier this year and the new season began in early spring. 

Most spoke anecdotally about seeing cocaine use both on the terraces but mostly in the toilets at the grounds in recent months. 

However, multiple security sources have told this publication that there is expected to be a “serious clampdown” on the use of drugs at these games in the coming weeks. 

There has been a significant increase in crowds at the League of Ireland this season, even compared to pre-pandemic attendances. 

One security source explained: “It is something gardaí are seeing a lot more often and it seems to be the case that people think they can get away with it. Officers are seeing a lot of people leaving games who are high off their heads on coke. It’s a real problem they are trying to solve. It’s rampant.”

Club bosses want to keep match days as family friendly as possible to attract more fans as well as lucrative sponsors. 

However, there are fears that continued drug use and other anti-social behaviour could deter people from paying to attend games. 

The Journal has contacted the FAI as well as Dublin-based Premier Division clubs. We had received no reply to our queres by yesterday evening. 

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

The problem is not just an Irish one. 

The UK has faced this issue for over a decade and has strict banning order legislation for people caught in possession or doing drugs at games.

In a statement to this publication, a garda spokesman said: “An Garda Síochána’s policing of these events involves an individual risk assessment in respect of each event .

“The implementation of policing plans in respect of all events and games involves a graduated police response to incidents of a criminal nature and in respect of anti-social behaviour involving overt, covert and specialist trained personnel.

“As part of An Garda Síochána’s policing of these events and games its focus is on preventing and detecting crime, including those involving illegal substances.”

About the author:

Read next:

COMMENTS