Middle-class drug users have 'fuelled the drug trade' - TD Maureen O'Sullivan
Independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan has said middle-class drug users have "fuelled the drug trade" and contributed to the violence in Dublin's inner city.
She was speaking in the Dáil ahead of Taoiseach Enda Kenny's much-anticipated visit to the north inner city to discuss the gangland crisis, which is expected to be kept under wraps and take place in private.
The visit is likely to take place early next week - after tomorrow's funeral of the latest murder victim, Gareth Hutch, at the Holy Family Church on Aughrim Street.
The Dublin Central TD, who extended the invitation to Mr Kenny, said it would be more appropriate if the visit took place away from the media glare.
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald is expected to accompany Mr Kenny on the visit.
In a passionate speech during Leaders' Questions yesterday, Ms O'Sullivan asked that Mr Kenny get "into the skin" of people living in the north inner city.
"He (could imagine looking) out the window and there is nobody on the street, yet within two to three minutes, anything from 30 to 60 people are there - because word has gone around that drugs will be for sale.
"He could be sitting at home in his flat or walking down the street, maybe going for the messages or meeting neighbours and suddenly shots ring out and somebody is gunned down and executed in front of him," Ms O'Sullivan said.
"He could have a son or daughter, or a brother or sister, who got caught up in addiction and owes a massive amount of money to the dealers and he gets a knock on the door and is told to pay up or else do a deed, commit a murder or set somebody up for murder, or worse will happen to him."
She argued that middle-class drug users in other parts of the country have "contributed" to the problems.
"They have also fuelled the drug trade and thus contributed to the murders and mayhem," she said.
Ms O’Sullivan later elaborated on her comments.
"I hate the words recreational drugs, because it is giving a completely different perception," she said.
"But the same dealer who provides the heroin and the crack cocaine and the tablets is the same dealer who is providing the so-called socially acceptable coke.
"It doesn’t matter whether you are snorting it in a high-class restaurant or hotel or shooting up in the street, it is the same dealer making money out of your addiction."
Local Independent councillor Nial Ring said the inner-city community remained deeply wounded following the recent murders.
He welcomed new measures for the gardaí but said it was only "one part of what's needed".
"We need to put the rest of the jigsaw in place," he added.