Persistent drug dealing ‘decimating’ community
PERSISTENT issues with drug dealing at Russell Court and around St Mark’s GAA Club in Tallaght are ‘decimating’ the community, according to a local councillor.
The drug dealing at the aforementioned sites was discussed at a West Tallaght Community Safety Forum meeting in October, and was also raised at a recent meeting of the Joint Policing Committee.
According to Sinn Féin councillor for Tallaght South, Louise Dunne, drug dealing at those locations has been going on for many years, and is part of a wider issue with drug dealing in the county.
“It’s an ongoing issue that the people in Drumcairn Parade and the GAA club have had to deal with,” Cllr Dunne told The Echo.
“But it’s not only in those areas. It’s right across the county. Drug dealing is out there, it’s in your face, and it’s something that has become normalised for young people to see – and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.”
Talking about the overall impact of drug use in the community, Cllr Dunne said: “Our communities are being decimated, families are being destroyed, and young people are being groomed into dealing.”
According to crime statistics released at a meeting of the South Dublin County Council Tallaght and Rathfarnham Joint Policing Committee on November 17, 812 searches under the Drug Act had been carried out in Tallaght this year – a decrease of just under seven per cent compared to 872 searches in 2020.
From January last year to November 2020, drugs worth approximately €7.5m had been seized by gardai from the Tallaght District Drugs Unit.
However, Cllr Dunne, who previously worked in community addiction services, said that a lack of funding for community drug projects is exacerbating the issue.
“Since the financial crash, funding for community groups working on the frontline with these issues has been decimated,” Cllr Dunne said.
“I don’t feel the drug projects are being supported enough. They’re under-resourced.”
This sentiment was echoed in a report published by the Tallaght Drug and Alcohol Task Force (TDATF) last month, where they called for additional government funding to deal with the spiralling levels of crack cocaine addiction in the area.
TDATF had its budget cut from €1.3m in 2010 to just €1.2m this year, and it called for an additional €1m in government funding.
The Tallaght task force ranks eighth out of 14 task forces nationally in terms of funding, and its funding levels are less than some other task forces with smaller populations and a smaller number of service users.
Last week, the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, said in response to a parliamentary question that a proportion of €1m of Government funding to increase access to and the provision of community-based drug and alcohol services would go to the TDATF.