Immediate intervention needed to address Limerick's spiralling drug crisis - Maurice Quinlivan TD
Sinn Féin TD for Limerick Maurice Quinlivan has hit out at the failure to tackle the issue of open drug dealing in Limerick City. He criticised the responsible ministers for failing to act since he raised the issue previously and highlighted issues that have been affecting the St Mary's Park area of the city.
Speaking in the Dáil, Teachta Quinlivan said:
“I mentioned this estate to you before Minister and to the Minster for Justice, and I raised it with both An Taoiseach and the Tánaiste.
"It needs urgent intervention from government with additional resources for An Garda Síochana, the Criminal Assets Bureau, Court Services, Limerick Council and other agencies who need to intervene as a matter of urgency.
“This is an older and very settled housing estate with lots of wonderful working families who have lived there for generations.
“Now it feels like drugs and drug gangs have taken over and, worse still, they seem to operate with impunity. They build unauthorised structures that need to be removed but remain in situ and they claim public land which needs to be reclaimed. A number of council officials have told me privately that they are afraid to enforce many regulations.
“The Defence Forces were deployed last year in Limerick to assist the Criminal Assets Bureau. They should be called on again, if necessary, to deal with this ongoing problem.
“Derelict houses due for demolition are being used to store drugs. Despite Garda requests, these structures remain in situ as the warehouses of the wicked.
"Unfortunately, drug dealing operates like a 24-hour drive-thru. Taxis often form queues while people from all over the region purchase their drugs. Many people simply walk into the estate. It is like a non-stop drugs supermarket. The vast bulk of people getting the drugs there don’t live in the area.
“In the mid-2000s the drug problem in Limerick was ignored. This cost us. It cost the state resources and it cost people their lives.
"The failure to act then ultimately led for the need for a massive government intervention, which ultimately led to the Limerick Regeneration Programme. I implore government to act now, we have no time to lose.
"We do not want to return to those very dark days. The residents need assurances that they have not been abandoned. We need a specific task force in the area that could be modelled on what has been achieved in areas of Dublin.”