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Sir -- People are considering what to give their friends and family for Christmas. I can think of a present that might help make Ireland a better, safer, less violent country in which to live, a gift that costs nothing to give but could make a huge difference to our quality of life.

I suggest that anyone who has the smallest nugget of information about drug dealers who continue to ravage communities nationwide pick up a phone and dial the Garda confidential number. Hold nothing back!

The recession is bad enough, with families battling to get through each day and hoping for better times ahead. But gangland thugs peddling drugs make a bad economic situation a darn sight worse for many people. Countless lives have been devastated by addiction, and the drugs business also fuels gangland killings and widespread intimidation of innocent people.

With so many mobile phones out there, calling the gardai to "shop" these blood suckers has never been easier. Unfortunately, failing to share information on these evil predators is still deemed 'cool' by many people, who seem to imagine that letting dealers off the hook is somehow tantamount to giving a two-fingered sign to the established order, the 'powers that be', or whatever.

It's not. Having one's life destroyed by addiction is about as 'cool' as a sweltering hot summer's day.

It's not the Government or the ruling elites that suffer from drug deals, though wealthy folk also avail of the vile trade. The principal victims are ordinary people on middle to low incomes, or the unemployed who are strugg-ling to get on with their lives in this very difficult time.

I like this run-up to Christmas. The bright multi-coloured lights on the streets and in shopping centres are lovely to look at. The tinsel sparkling on the festive trees is cheery and eye-catching, and unwrapping those lovely presents has a great feeling to it.

But every gift has value. Just think how gratifying it would be to know that by passing a vital tip to the gardai about drug dealers or other gangland activity we might be saving a life, and maybe more than one life, that we just might be making Ireland a little more bearable for ourselves and our children.

Some Christmas gift, eh?

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Sunday Independent