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Dublin and Drogheda feuds: 'Your line of cocaine in a pub is what these guys are fighting over'

Earlier this week senior gardaí said the use of the term ‘recreational drugs’ by officials was helping to normalise substance abuse.

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RECREATIONAL DRUG USERS are being asked to consider their role in feeding the market that feuding gangs are fighting over in West Dublin and in Drogheda.

There has been an escalation in gang feud activity in these areas in recent months, with a number of shooting incidents, pipe and petrol bomb attacks and cases of arson. Some of these incidents have taken place in the middle of the day – one in Corduff was outside a school

Innocent people in these areas say they are now living in fear and they are scared to talk to gardaí when they witness feud activity. Philip Jennings of Safer Blanchardstown told that people outside of these communities can not ignore their role in keeping these gangs in business. 

“This is driven by money, the money from people using recreational drugs. The gangs are fighting over control of the recreational market – that’s where the big money is.

There is a proportion of it that’s generated by people with a dependence, but a lot of the money is coming from so-called law-abiding citizens who go out to do a line of cocaine in a pub or disco, or those who think it’s okay to smoke a bag of weed at the weekend. 

Jennings said people to not see the connection between the money they hand over occasionally to a dealer and “what these guys are fighting over”.  

“This is not particular to Corduff or what we see in Drogheda, you see it in Sligo, in Donegal, in every country in the country. This is a national problem, it’s something Irish society has to tackle,” he said. 

Janet Robinson, who conducts research for Blanchardstown Local Drug and Alcohol Taskforce, said she ran a focus group with young people recently and they told her they thought there was a “poor link” between recreational drug use and gang crime and the harm to communities.

“That perception told me that more education is needed and it shows how drug use is just totally normalised and people can’t see the real impact. They think ‘I just do my little bit of cocaine at the weekend’ and the dealer might be a friend, they know each other.”

People who are using drugs ‘recreationally’ are also not likely to be aware of how involved children are in the drugs trade they are funding. Research Robinson conducted in 2017 found children as young as 10-years-old are dealing while children as young as eight are drug running in the Dublin 15 area.

Normalising drug abuse

Superintendent Noel Cunningham, who is president of the Association of Garda Superintendents, earlier this week said the use of the term ‘recreational drugs’ is helping to “normalise what is illegal, dangerous and supporting drug abuse in Ireland”.

“We must be careful with our language and supportive of a multi-agency approach to addressing drug abuse within our young and not-so-young communities.”

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Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, speaking at the association’s conference, said he agreed the use of this term was “not appropriate”.

“If you look at drugs, drugs feed then into crime gangs and that feeds into turf wars and then that becomes murder and serious violence and all these things are a continuum and that continuum leads to other forms of criminality, be it human trafficking, be it illegal and indeed child abuse online,” he said.

“There is all sorts of problems about being any sort of customer of the drugs trade.

“You are feeding an illegal trade and you only have to look across the water to see the misery there is in other parts of the world, in Central America, for instance, in the drugs trade. Bear in mind your euro, your euros that you’ve spent on drugs is feeding that crime.”

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