Tuesday 20 February 2018

Gardai admit resources being lost to tackling drugs problem because of anti-water protests

Oireachtas Committee discussing issue of drug use in Dublin's inner city

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

ONE of the country’s most senior gardai has admitted that resources are being taken away of addressing Dublin’s drug problem in order to police anti-water charge protests.

Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey said that these demonstrations require adequate policing and therefore resources must be deployed.

"Water protests do require resources," the senior officer told the Oireachtas Justice Committee.

"So there are resources going out to deal with that particular area ,"he added.

Separately today, committee members heard about the serious drug dealing problem in Dublin’s North Inner City.

Dr Johnny Connolly of the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol said children are resorting to crime and violence in order to pay back drug debts of up to €100.

He told TDs and senators that young children are purchasing grams of cannabis herb for as little as €12.

Fine Gael TD and committee chairman David Stanton said he believes it is now time for the government to appoint a minister with specific responsibility for drugs.

Detective Chief Superintendent John O'Driscoll, Head of the Garda National Drug Unit, told the committee said the issue of money lending has become "intertwined" with drug dealing.

"Money lending has become intertwined with drug business, those people causing and creating these situations are living within the communities," he said.

Assistant Commissioner Twomey also said gardai are actively investigating the issue of unlicensed firearms in communities.

Gardai also spoke about the major difficulties in dealing with the fear of reprisal.

The committee heard that people are approaching their local authorities seeking to move homes due to the issue of intimidation.

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