The ‘virus’ of drugs and organised crime in Dundalk was raised in Leinster House on Wednesday by Ruairí Ó Murchú TD who told the justice minister how he had been at the scene of a sudden death in Muirhevnamór days earlier.
The Sinn Féin deputy told Minister Charlie Flanagan how he had seen for himself ‘the horrific results of the (drugs) pandemic’ the previous Saturday afternoon.
Mr Ó Murchú said:
“I received a call that in Muirhevnamór, about a kilometre from my house, a young man was lying dead at the back of two houses that have been synonymous with drug use and dealing.
“I went to the scene and people in the community wanted to know who had died. They were saddened, but not shocked.
“They were angry. No-one was in any doubt about who was responsible. I spoke to Gardaí and the view in the community is that the death could be linked to one of the most prolific drug dealers in the area, someone whom many would hold responsible for a number of deaths in the last year in this part of Dundalk.
“The following day, in the same estate, Gardaí found €2,000 worth of cocaine on a man, while follow up searches yielded another €30,000 worth.
“Three people are being questioned at the moment after Gardaí intercepted three cars in Drogheda and seized over €1.1 million worth of cocaine and prescription drugs, as well as more than €500,000 in cash”.
He said that while he welcomed the ‘vigilance and work’ of the Gardaí, it has been clear for a long time ‘that they are operating from the back foot within a failing system’.
He said the justice system was failing communities, with people on serious drug charges being back out on the streets after getting bail, while the youth justice system “is just not fit for purpose”.
Drug dealers are recruiting kids and there those dealing in Dundalk aged just 14 or 15. Drug dealing, addiction and drug debt extortion and violence, is, Mr Ó Murchú said, ‘everywhere’, but working class areas like Muirhevnamór are ‘paying the biggest price’.
He said there needs to be a minister at the new Cabinet table with responsibility for the issueof drugs, which crosses health, justice, youth, housing and local government and a multiagency response was needed ‘at every local authority level’.
Mr Ó Murchú said there Family Addiction Support Network (FASN) are ‘operating on
volunteerism and just €7,500 from an under-resourced Drugs Task Force’.
He said: ‘We continue with this and never fix the problem or make a real attempt’.