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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020
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Crack houses operating like supermarkets as cocaine use sweeps across Limerick, politicians claim

Elected officials say cocaine use is rampant in Limerick city and serious gangland violence could return.

Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan has issued a stark warning about drug use in Limerick.
Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan has issued a stark warning about drug use in Limerick.
Image: Leah Farrell

CRACK HOUSES ARE operating like supermarkets as a surge in cocaine use sweeps across Limerick city, politicians claimed.

Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan warned Limerick is on a cocaine collision course and the city could see a return serious gangland violence.

Around 20 men were murdered when a gang feud raged for ten years from the late 90s to mid 2000s.

The feud also claimed innocent lives, including rugby player Shane Geoghegan and businessman Roy Collins.

 Deputy Quinlivan said: “Cocaine is rampant all over the place. In parts of the city they are mixing crack-cocaine in with heroin deliberately. There are some houses in the city that are like (cocaine) supermarkets, open 24/7, taxis pulling up outside.”

I know of one house in an area of the city where 124 people were identified going in and out of the house on one day.

The comings and goings at the suspected crack house were recorded “on CCTV cameras, but unfortunately there has been very little prosecutions”.

High level drugs dealers in the city and county are acting with impunity, the Sinn Féin TD claimed.

“While (gardaí) have done good work, you still see people who never worked a day in their life driving around in top of the range cars, enjoying holidays, no bother whatsoever, and they can still sign on the dole as well, so how (does this) add up?”

There seems to be open drug dealing in communities.

 Quinlivan, a member of the Mid-West Drug and Alcohol Forum for the past decade, has called for more funding for drugs awareness programmes for primary schools, and funds to support rehabilitation services. 

“Drugs have never been so bad in the city. Heroin levels have dropped, but the level of cocaine is off the scale, and the deliberate mixing of crack cocaine into heroin is causing chaos.”

You can see it in people – and if you don’t see it you are blind. They (addicts) are walking into shops and robbing stuff, they’re bringing (stolen goods) to houses and swapping it for drugs.

Former Limerick mayor, Fianna Fáil councillor James Collins, revealed his own sources have revealed “truly shocking stories of drug addicts who are being intimidated by gangs in horrific ways”.

“What was really striking was the counsellors, gardaí, and volunteers, all expressed little surprise that gangs are dismembering bodies, or beating people to a pulp over drugs debts.”

Dealers are storing, mixing, and supplying cocaine and heroin out of homes in disadvantaged local authority housing estates, St Mary’s Park, Moyross, Ballinacurra Weston, and Southill, sources said. 

Gardaí have seized crack-cocaine and heroin in some of these areas in recent weeks.

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A number of people have recently been brought before the city’s District Court, charged with supplying heroin and cocaine. 

According to a report in last weekends Sunday Times, the Garda Commissioner plans to deliver new garda drug units into every garda division as part of Operation Tara, as the force targets drug gangs to address an unprecedented rise in drug use.

Last October, Limerick’s Chief Superintendent Gerry Roche told a meeting of the city’s Joint Policing Committee that drugs were “the biggest problem” facing society. 

Limerick barrister and Independent councillor, Emmet O’Brien, said he was inundated with calls from constituents complaining that rural parts of Limerick, particularly in the west of the County, was awash with cocaine. 

He argued for garda resources to be pumped into raiding known drug dens rather than public houses.

Drug gangs in the County are using “drones” as a counter garda surveillance measure, said newly elected local Independent TD Richard O’Donoghue.

Chief Roche said gardaí were continually focussing on the gangs operations, and that drug detections as well as deceptions of guns had increased.

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David Raleigh

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