Drugs sold 'in broad daylight' on Dublin's quays

OPEN DRUG-dealing and anti-social behaviour in “broad daylight” in parts of Dublin city centre must be tackled by gardaí, Fine…

OPEN DRUG-dealing and anti-social behaviour in “broad daylight” in parts of Dublin city centre must be tackled by gardaí, Fine Gael has said.

The party’s justice spokesman Charlie Flanagan said more community gardaí were needed on the beat in the city centre to “deter drug dealers from plying their trade, especially in civic spaces”.

“Last September I wrote to the Garda Commissioner drawing his attention to the issue of drug dealers plying their trade in broad daylight in Dublin city centre following a representation from a concerned citizen. Unfortunately, the problem has continued to worsen since,” Mr Flanagan said.

“It really is a sign that law and order has broken down in a community when dealers can sell drugs openly on the streets and along the Liffey boardwalk – a facility denied to the people of this city and its visitors by drug dealers.”


He issued his statement after heated discussion on RTÉ radio’s Liveline programme when shopkeepers spoke of a big increase in open drug trading at Aston Quay near O’Connell Bridge and along the Liffey boardwalk.

Mr Flanagan said the Government’s decision to cut funding for the confidential “Dial to Stop Drug-dealing” helpline was a “blow to the fight against drug-dealing”.

Set up on a trial basis in 2007, the Manchester-based hotline was advertised heavily with banners in the city centre last year.

Since November, it received 1,400 anonymous tips from the public, of which 370 were forwarded to local Garda stations.

But the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs recently said a final allocation of €300,000 had been given to 10 projects for 2009 and that there was “no scope” for further campaigns to promote the hotline.

“Drugs are pouring into Ireland due to Government neglect. One X-ray scanner for every port, one single patrol boat for the enormous 5,800 kilometres of coastline, and infrequent or non-existent Customs inspections at smaller and private airports provide drug dealers with carte blanche to bring drugs into this country,” Mr Flanagan said.

He said the “war on drugs” required strategic resources, particularly in the area of community policing and customs.

Mr Flanagan said he would raise the issue with Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern when the Dáil resumed next week.

A spokesman for Dublin City Council said the area manager would be happy to discuss Mr Flanagan’s concerns with him.

There were a number of “overlapping issues” not confined to the use of the boardwalk, but also relating to drug use and anti-social behaviour generally in the city centre.

The city council had adopted a multi-agency approach, working with the homeless agencies, the Anna Livia Project, the Garda and the Dublin Business Improvement Development Scheme to address the issues. It had also made available a building in the city centre for people affected by homelessness and drug use.

There was no immediate comment from the Garda Press Office last night.