In recent times in the Dundalk area a father, under the threat that his car or home would be burned if he did not meet the drugs debt that one of his children had incurred had to seek help from external sources to feed his family.
This man was left in this situation because he had to borrow every penny he could to meet the threat from the drug pushers and as a result could not buy his normal week’s supply of food.
He is not the first father to be left in this frightening situation nor will he be the last.
There have been many stories repeated by families of living in fear and dread that their homes or property will be petrol bombed, or worse still they themselves or their families will suffer serious injury if the drug debt is not paid up.
In many cases these families are threatened that if they report the matter to the Gardai the consequences will be even greater, and consequently many are afraid to report the matter. They suffer in silence, doing their best with their limited resources to pay up.
Those responsible for this reprehensible behaviour know full well that families will always go to great lengths to support a vulnerable son or daughter caught up in the drugs nightmare and hope and pray that they are doing the right thing.
For that reason alone - tackling the problem of children and families being exploited in this way by the drugs barons - it is essential that Dundalk follows the initiative recently established with some success in Drogheda and set up a “community action team”.
This team or unit, comprising a sergeant and five Gardai, is tasked with the vitally important role of developing close links with communities in which they work and where problems are identified.
In that way confidence and trust is built up, helping the Gardai to acquire the vital information on the drugs culture that is ruining many communities, and expose those involved in threatening unfortunate families.
The ‘D-CAT’ unit as it is called, also deals with other issues, such as anti-social behaviour which, according to Sinn Fein councillor, Kevin Meenan is a major problem in the town with some areas over-run.
Clearly normal policing procedures of responding to an incident when it is reported is no longer adequate for in most cases those responsible for causing the incident have fled the scene.
To combat this growing concern new or radical policing methods are essential, and for that reason the “D-Cat” initiative started in Drogheda with goods results seems to be a move in the right direction.