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New garda crackdown to target 'blatant drug dealing' at Dublin city centre hot-spots

The garda crackdowns are targeting areas of the quays as well as particular areas of the Liberties in the south inner city.

GARDAÍ IN DUBLIN city centre have launched a crackdown on “nuisance” hand-to-hand drug deals taking place at well-known hot-spots for dealing in the city centre.

Garda stations across the capital have received an increased number of complaints from members of the public about open dealing in recent months. 

The crackdowns will targeting areas of the quays as well as particular areas of the Liberties in the south inner city. The boardwalks along the quays will be a particular priority for gardaí. A number of other streets around these areas will also be targeted. 

The renewed effort comes on top of an already functioning operation targeting street dealers and anti-social behaviour in and around O’Connell Street.

In the recent past, Garda resourcing in the city centre has been focused on tackling high-end suppliers as well as stopping feud murders – operations which have garnered significant results. 

However, “nuisance dealing” as one source put it, is on the rise and many lower-level dealers are acting with apparent impunity in areas of the capital. 

Officers in drug units based at Kevin Street, Pearse Street and Store Street have been urging management to allocate resources for what is seen as a potential easy win for them, which would also provide a huge benefit to the local community.

In tandem with the increased number of calls to gardaí about open dealing, use of crack-cocaine in particular has been on the rise since the summer of 2017. 

The drug, which is usually smoked, provides users with a short, intense high much stronger than powder cocaine. While use of the drug was initially centred in the city, more recently there have been reports of open dealing of crack-cocaine in the inner suburbs of the capital too.

Additionally, HSE addiction experts say use of cocaine has now returned to Celtic Tiger levels. 

Chair of Dublin City Council’s Joint Policing Committee, Daithí De Róiste, said more gardaí are needed on the beat to stop the open dealing. 

He told TheJournal.ie: “Drug dealing is visible there to anyone who spends five minutes on these streets. It’s worrying that we just are not seeing any extra guards on the streets to combat this.

At the end of the day, what we need is a constant garda pressure operating in the city centre making dealing like this as difficult as possible.

Gardaí stationed in the south inner city are up against serious shortages in resources and those tasked with policing these streets are spread too thinly to have a meaningful impact, according to local politicians.

As part of this new crackdown, gardaí are expected to use undercover officers to ascertain precisely who is dealing the drugs and where their source is. Specific areas near tourist-trail streets in the Liberties will be the primary focus for some of the garda units operating as part of the effort. 

Injecting centre and local dealing

In 2017, laws were passed allowing for the opening of drug injection centres in Ireland. 

The pilot centre was to be opened and run out of Merchant Quay Ireland’s Riverbank complex the south inner city. 

Advocates for the centre argue it will save lives and lead to a reduction in the amount of needles and other drug paraphernalia disposed of on city streets.

In May of this year, it emerged that the facility will be further delayed due to planning concerns, with the centre now likely not to open until at least next year.

The planning application was met with fierce local resistance, with businesses, schools, residents and different groups all objecting. The area around the proposed injecting is of constant concern for gardaí targeting drug dealing.

De Róiste added: “Drug dealing is so blatantly visible and yet people are still against the supervised injecting facility. It’s there, it’s visible and until we see a change in policy, nothing is going to change.”

A spokeswoman for gardaí said: “Local Garda management, Chief Superintendent Wheatley and Superintendent Gordon of Kevin Street monitor garda activity and patrols to ensure a garda response commensurate with demand and maintain an appropriate presence in the area. Over recent months District, Divisional, Regional and specialist support units (Garda Dog Unit) have been deployed in this area.

“A number of successful operations targeting the sale of drugs in the area has been carried out recently. An Garda Síochána continue to liaise with all stakeholders in the area in an effort to combat all forms of anti-social behaviour.”

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