Operation Copóg is in danger of failure as open drug dealing continues - Maurice Quinlivan TD
Sinn Féin TD for Limerick City, Maurice Quinlivan, has called on the Minister for Justice to address the ongoing issue of open drug dealing in Limerick City.
Teachta Quinlivan made his comments during a discussion on progress that has been made through Operation Copóg.
Operation Copóg was established in March 2021 to address issues around the sale and supply of controlled drugs and anti-social behaviour in St. Mary’s Park, Limerick.
Addressing the Dáil, Teachta Quinlivan queried why one address, despite numerous Garda raids, remains a hotbed for dealing of crack cocaine. He also expressed his concern that Garda Operation Copóg is in danger of failure as open drug dealing continues.
Teachta Quinlivan said:
“You only need to walk into St. Mary’s Park to witness for yourself the sale of crack cocaine from this property.
"Local Gardaí have told me that they haven’t seen or are aware of anything like this in any other part of the state. That a known, and consistently raided, drug supply base can remain open despite so many raids.
“Let me be very clear as to what is happening - the drug 'supermarket' isn’t like some Amsterdam Coffee House, its main business isn’t hash.
"Its main business is the sale of the most destructive and possibly the most addictive of all drugs: Crack Cocaine.
"To give you a flavour of just how addictive this drug is, a street outreach worker from Ana Liffey project in Limerick told me that one client told him that 'crack has brought him to places he thought he would never physically or mentally go'. Another outreach worker told me 'a client of hers would spend €1,000 - €2,000 a night'.
"More must be done for the people of the area. St. Mary’s Park is a very old and a very settled estate.
"It is a welcoming estate where working families have lived for generations. I am proud to call many of its residents my friends. Yet, it remains an estate held hostage by drug gangs.
"People, who have lived there all their lives, have told me that they are reluctant to walk past specific houses, they are reluctant to call the Gardaí and quite frankly I can understand why.
“Minister, what do you say to those residents who need only look out the window and see the gangsters laughing and joking and selling hours after a raid?
"Despite the Garda action, to residents it seems the drug gangs are now in control. They can operate with impunity.
“I would like to mention the work of the Gardaí in Limerick on this matter. In fairness to them, they have responded, they have made arrests and seizures and I have no doubt that they share my frustrations regarding the continual operation of this drug supermarket.
"They, in the main, have responded when I have raised concerns directly with them and I thank them for this.
"While the responsibility for closing drug warehouses is a matter for the Department of Justice, the wider issue of drug use is related to poverty and disadvantage.
“Youth unemployment is a major problem in Limerick. Eight of the top ten unemployment black spots in the State are in my city of Limerick.
"We have reached the tipping point Minister, and the success of this operation will be judged on whether this superstore is closed.”