‘A sense of lawlessness’ over open drug-dealing in localities
THERE is “a sense of lawlessness” in relation to issues with open drug-dealing in Tallaght, according to a local drug project worker.
The issue of open drug-dealing was raised at a South Dublin County Joint Policing Committee meeting this month.
Areas including Fettercairn, Killinarden and Jobstown were highlighted as being locations where open drug-dealing is taking place, particularly at local shops.
However, Grace Hill, the coordinator of the Tallaght Drug and Alcohol Task Force (TDATF) who also raised the issue at the meeting, said it’s a problem that’s affecting communities right across Tallaght.
“It’s happening all over Tallaght,” she told The Echo. “I don’t need to name specific areas, because I think everyone would agree that it’s happening everywhere and there’s a lack of a garda presence.
“I think the guards are doing a good job, but there’s a lack of guards on the beat, and people are not seeing an urgent response to open dealing.”
The TDATF recently set up a new project called Connect 4, which sees drug project workers go out onto the streets and meet young people who are engaging in substance misuse.
While Ms Hill said the project is having a positive effect, she said that there is a lack of garda action and resources to complement the workers’ roles.
“We have our Connect 4 street workers, and it would be great if their work was being complemented by the guards,” she explained.
“Morale is low among our community representatives and they’re saying that they need to see more guards on the beat.
“What they’re saying is that there’s a sense of lawlessness . . . it’s great that we have these street workers on the ground asking young people why they’re involved in things that will get them in trouble, but on the other hand, drug-related activity is rife – it’s happening all the time.
“I don’t think we’re going to have as much of an impact if there aren’t more garda resources.”
Some local shops have become magnets for drug-dealing in the locality, and it’s at this stage, according to Ms Hill, that it becomes a garda issue beyond the scope of community workers.
“There are shops where there is a lot of activity,” she said. “People there are trying to do as much as they can, but after a point it has to be a garda issue.
“I think that positive engagement from community workers complemented by a garda presence can only help improve the area – but it has to be a sustained, consistent garda presence so they can build up a rapport with the community.”
A garda source told The Echo that the drugs unit in Tallaght is still carrying out regular seizures, including the seizure of €144,000 worth of cannabis in Saggart over the weekend.
However, they admitted that there have been issues with garda resources in Tallaght, particularly as garda recruitment stalled during the pandemic and staff retired or got promoted to other stations.
“Garda stations all over the country have lost people since the pandemic due to retirements and promotions,” the source said.
“And there was nobody coming in from Templemore, so there’s been a lag in recruitment.”
However, there is currently a tranche of new recruits in Templemore who are expected to be deployed to stations around the country in the coming months.
“It’ll be later this year or early next year before they’re allocated, but I would hope that Tallaght will get its fair share,” added the source.