Busy city centre drugs squad to be disbanded
ONE of the busiest drug units attached to any garda station in the country will be disbanded in the next three weeks, the Herald can reveal.
Senior garda management have decided that all officers attached to the drugs unit in Store Street Garda Station in Dublin's north inner city will now have to re-apply for their jobs as the divisional drugs squad will be split into two drugs units.
Currently the unit operates with one sergeant and 10 gardai.
According to new plans, Store Street Garda Station will now have two drugs units with two sergeants in charge of each and six officers working in each unit.
The decision was announced last Friday and will come into effect before the month ends.
Sources say that there has been a "difference of opinion" among senior gardai about the most effective way to tackle the severe drugs problem in the area policed by Store Street gardai, which includes O'Connell Street and Talbot Street as well as most of the north inner city.
"Some officers are in favour of flooding the streets with gardai to catch the small-time street dealers, while others believe detailed surveillance operations to catch the bigger operators is the way forward," a source pointed out.
"It is hoped that when the current unit is disbanded and then reformed and re-named, the unit will continue to be as effective," the source added.
Despite having a huge workload, the Store Street divisional drugs unit is one of the most successful in the country.
Sources say that the gardai are involved in "constant operations" against drug dealers, including a major investigation targeting teenage street dealers in the Summerhill area last week.
During the course of this operation, gardai seized €6,000 worth of cannabis herb after building up intelligence on a gang whose members are mainly aged between 14 and 18.
Sources have revealed that some of these teenagers have close links to a dangerous mob that is associated with convicted gangland killer and local criminal Michael Taylor Jnr (34). Taylor is currently serving a life sentence for the gun murder of Paul Kelly in Clontarf in April 2007.
A source pointed out: "Last week's operation in Summerhill was just one of many successful operations that the Store Street drugs unit have been involved in. It is very much hoped that when all these changes are made, that the unit can continue to be as effective."