Gardai up security on the canal to curb drug-dealing

By Maurice Garvey

ORGANISED crime along the Grand Canal, primarily Clondalkin to Lucan, and Park West, is being targeted by a major multi-agency operation.

Gardai in Clondalkin and Lucan are both currently involved in the operation to tackle criminal activity along the length of the canal.

Garda Dog unit Cldk Grand Canal compressor

Garda Drug Unit at the Grand Canal Clondalkin last Saturday (Image: Garda Dublin Facebook page)

Key targets are drug-dealing, vandalism of public lighting to aid drug-dealing, and intimidation of innocent residents using the amenity.

Videos have done the rounds on social media of cyclists having fireworks fired at them along the canal, while a number of cyclists have had their bikes taken off them by gangs of thugs.

The Echo understands the operation started in the last couple of months, and has resulted in a number of arrests.

Gardai have stepped up patrols in the area, including a dog unit last weekend, and hope to have garda push-bikes on the canal by Christmas.

It is deemed by senior gardai to be a long-term operation, tasked with cleaning up the canal area from serious anti-social activity.

The Grand Canal Greenway is a joint project between Waterways Ireland, South Dublin County Council, ESB, Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority.

According to the council, parts of the infrastructure, particularly lighting and CCTV, have been subject to “serious vandalism and are currently out of commission”.

“Arrangements are being made to bring this infrastructure back into operation – due to ongoing serious anti-social behaviour, these works are not without difficulty,” said the council.

At a Policing Meeting in Clondalkin on Tuesday night, the council said new “anti-vandal” camera parts have been sourced.

The Echo understands the parts won’t arrive from the UK until the end of the year, but will be installed in 2020.

Meanwhile, cabling for CCTV cameras along the canal is currently being installed underground, to prevent it from being vandalised.

Clondalkin Superintendent Seamus Dalton said it is an “ongoing” operation and involves “police on the ground”.

Supt Dalton told The Echo that some cameras had been vandalised deliberately and the recent installation of new cabling is an important aspect to the investigation.

Speaking at a Policing Meeting on Lucan/North Clondalkin over a month ago, Lucan Superintendent Paul Dolan said the difficulty was in resourcing, but it was “going well” and they “didn’t want to lose ground.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “The route links the city to the west of the county and with the installation of the ‘red bridge’ provides a cycling/pedestrian route to Lucan. The primary responsibility for the physical maintenance of the route in South Dublin County rests with the council.

“Despite increased specification there remains the potential that the new works may be the subject of further damage in the future.

Liaison continues with the gardai in this regard. In conjunction with the gardai, the council will make every effort to maintain the CCTV and lighting in operable condition to ensure that the Greenway remains a safe route to serve the public.”

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