Community and drug treatment groups welcome sanctions against the Kinahans

Project leader says even if the Kinahans are put out of action altogether ‘there is always another gang waiting to take their place’

Community and drug treatment groups welcomed sanctions against the Kinahan drug cartel. However, some said they would “make little or no difference” to those caught up in addiction.

Most were reluctant to comment at all, citing the “political” implications of questioning whether the sanctions would achieve anything positive for communities worst ravaged by drugs.

Tony Duffin, chief executive of the Ana Liffey Drug Project in Dublin, said the sanctions were an important "organised response to organised crime". He said it was the criminal justice response, but added that the public health response was also vital as part of the national drug strategy.

“I hope it makes a difference, and it is positive. I welcome it, but will it in the end make a big difference today or tomorrow to the people we support? I hope so.”


Gary Broderick, who is director of the Saol project which offers treatment and support to women in addiction in Dublin's north inner city, said the story was not a topic of conversation on Tuesday.

“Maybe that is because it has not filtered down to people as a story yet, but nobody is talking about it. I only heard it about on the news earlier and no one has mentioned it.”

One project leader working in Dublin’s south inner city said even if the Kinahans were put out of action altogether “there is always another gang waiting to take their place”.

Agreeing it was “positive” to see a gang that had “caused so many lives to be destroyed and lost” put out of action, he predicted the supply of drugs into impoverished communities would continue.

“We’ve seen gangs taken down before, like the Dunnes and the Westies, and it hasn’t stopped the drugs. The gangs need to be stopped, of course, but the root causes of the demand for drugs have to be faced – inequality, poverty, young people leaving school early.”

Root causes

He said decriminalisation of some drugs “needs to be looked at too”.

“So if people do use drugs they aren’t automatically going into a life of crime, prison and death. So, yes, the gangs profiting have to be stopped, but unless the root causes of addiction are addressed it will make little or no difference to the people using the drugs.”

A mother of one drug addict, “John”, who died of a heroin overdose, said the international crackdown on the Kinahan cartel came “not before time”.

Speaking on RTÉ radio's Liveline programme on Tuesday, Annette (who did not give her surname) said the "ripple effect of that one person using in one family just keeps going and going".

She asked: “How many more kids - [how many] mothers’ sons and daughters will have their lives destroyed?

“I don’t go to funerals anymore. I have too many of John’s friends losing their lives. I can’t sit in the crematoriums, or the funerals. I can’t do it anymore. The cost is too high. I start off at the [funeral of the] unfortunate whoever it is that we have to be going to their funeral, and am transported back to my own son’s and the pain is too much.”

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times