| 11.8°C Dublin

Terrified locals fear the 'bad old days' are back in Ballymun

Close

Drug paraphernalia found near Setanta GAA Club

Drug paraphernalia found near Setanta GAA Club

Drug paraphernalia found near Setanta GAA Club

Drugs are again being openly used in Ballymun, and local people have become increasingly concerned that the scourge of crime is returning to the town.

It emerged this week that Setanta GAA Club, which is in the north Dublin community, had written to Drugs Minister Catherine Byrne expressing concerns that children were being used by criminals to sell drugs.

Residents told the Herald yesterday that there were fears the neighbourhood was returning to the bad old days, before the flats were torn down, when crime was rife.

"You're constantly looking over your shoulder now," said one young girl, who asked not to be named.

"I never used to worry about drugs, but now I'm petrified."

Accused

Residents said they were terrified to talk about the issue for fear they could be targeted.

"No one wants to speak about it, but it happens right outside. You can look outside right now and you'll see it," the girl added.

She pointed to a man and a woman in their 50s who, in the middle of the afternoon in a large, open, green area, were exchanging drugs for cash.

Later, another man app-roached the same woman and publicly accused her of dealing drugs to children, which she denied.

Locals claimed those involved with the criminal activity were freely walking up and down the streets.

It is understood that parents are growing increasingly concerned that their children are being watched and targeted to sell drugs.

"People are very afraid," said Independent councillor Noel-een Reilly.

"There is open drug dealing going on everywhere, totally open, so much that people aren't trying to hide it any more.

"A lot of mothers will say they don't let their kids out on the street any more because they're being preyed on by criminal gangs to sell drugs in the area."

Locals fear the gangs have recruited a handful of children in the area who do their bidding in exchange for payments of not more than €100 each.

Former Dublin GAA player Paddy Christie said the drug issue was a fear that teachers and clubs in the area had lived with for some time.

In recent years, problems with anti-social behaviour in the area had improved, but the prospect of losing a young footballer or pupil to drugs such as cocaine remains a constant worry.

"A lot of good things have happened since the flats came down," said Mr Christie.

"Kids are living in houses with a back garden and a bit of privacy, which is beneficial.

"I would have felt that in the school and club that things had quietened down in recent years.

"But no, it's lurking in the shadows.

Vulnerable

Mr Christie, who has worked in a local school, Our Lady of Victories, for 17 years and coached and trained children at the local GAA club, said they were "vulnerable" to falling in with the wrong crowd.

"You're looking and thinking that I hope they don't get to you and that's always there," he said.

"You do your best to keep those young lads that you see in danger on the straight and narrow.

"But you only have them in school until 3pm and then they're gone.

"When they go out the gate they've a different challenge, and they've to stand on their own two feet.

"Often they're not able to do that."


Privacy