'Gardai need more help if drug centre is to work', says Curran
Gardai need more resources to tackle criminals who are selling drugs to addicts near the proposed site of Dublin's first injection centre, a senior Fianna Fail politician has said.
Dublin Mid West TD John Curran branded the criminals "vultures" for selling drugs less than a minute's walk from the Merchants Quay drug and homelessness service.
"If the illegal actions of these dealers continue to be tolerated, they will pose a significant challenge to the success of the centre in breaking the cycle of drug abuse by heroin addicts," said Mr Curran.
"This is, in fact, one of the biggest fears presented by those that do not support the introduction of such a centre in the city.
"They are worried it will simply become a premises for dealers to profit from."
Mr Curran's comments follow a Herald expose that found open-air dealing, drug abuse and intimidating behaviour only metres from the Merchants Quay centre.
Drug dealers were filmed openly selling illegal substances to addicts after they left the building, which will serve as the country's first injection centre.
The Herald also revealed that a local digital agency was forced to relocate after operating in the area for 17 years due to repeated incidents of drug related anti-social behaviour.
"This is a busy district of our city, situated as it is along a main bus corridor with steady passing traffic, but it also happens to be a well-known corner for public drug dealing," said Mr Curran.
"It's sadly obvious that the regular flow of dealers are targeting - in fact, preying on - some of the vulnerable people in addiction that may be en route to the nearby homeless and drugs services centre.
"I have previously noted the urgency for a well-resourced, co-ordinated garda response similar to Operation Pier in 2014 to bring the prevalence of open-air drug dealing under control.
"In the interest of ensuring the pilot centre can reduce drug-related overdoses, there must be a serious effort to rid the vicinity of those pushing illegal substances."