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Patrick's Day crackdown on street dealers

A MAJOR crackdown on drug-dealing in Dublin city centre has been launched in the run-up to St Patrick's Day.

Gardai have been targeting addicts who gather in unruly groups in parts of the main shopping areas.

Major clean-up operations have been mounted on both sides of the Liffey, with 304 people searched and drugs found 42 times in a recent four-day period.

ARRESTS

Two weeks ago, gardai from Pearse Street station stopped and searched large numbers of people, with 45 arrests.

As a result, many dealers have moved away from the centre, gathering near a methadone clinic in Merchant's Quay.

In comes in top of a spate recent operations by officers in parts of the city popular with shoppers and tourists.

The boardwalk areas along the quays have been targeted a number of times, particularly when there has been an increase in drug-dealing.

There has also been work in neighbourhoods where members of the public have complained about being harassed.

A number of individuals involved in these disturbances have been ordered to stay away from the city centre.

Officers have also been fighting against pickpockets, with several arrests and a significant quantity of stolen property recovered.

The Dublin City Business Association (DCBA) has previously criticised opening drug treatment centres in busy areas of the shopping district. The association accused the authorities of "dumping" centres meant to serve the greater Dublin area in Dublin 1.

A spokesman said that it risked creating the perception among tourists that Ireland was a nation of drug addicts.

TOURISTS

The DCBA also complained that successful measures to clear out drug dealers from residential centres resulted in the criminals congregating in the city's main commercial areas.

Tens of thousands of tourists from all around the world are expected in Dublin for St Patrick's Day, and authorities are eager to ensure they are kept safe at all times.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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