Fintan O’Toole: Ireland’s crack cocaine epidemic has consequences far worse than any viral pandemic

Much of what was eventually achieved in the State’s drugs policy the 1990s is now being reversed

None of what is happening in Tallaght is invisible or secret. There are at least a hundred crack houses known to local communities in the area

None of what is happening in Tallaght is invisible or secret. There are at least a hundred crack houses known to local communities in the area

I always knew there were at least two Irelands, that our culture had an extreme capacity for mental compartmentalisation. Ireland was never just “here” – it was always “there” as well. And my “here” could be officialdom’s “way over there”, another country, another planet.

But this really hit me 40 years ago when heroin flooded my home patch of Crumlin, a housing estate just a few miles from Dublin city centre. Crumlin was actually ground zero of the heroin epidemic: the Dunne family who brought the drug to Ireland lived just around the corner from my family home.

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