– Undercover filming reveals extensive, open drug dealing, in broad daylight, as school children pass by.
– “The level of open drug dealing we have here just would not be tolerated in other more advantaged communities in this country. There would be an outcry, and something would be done about it” – Andrew Montague, Former Lord Mayor
– Almost 10% of the Drug Unit Gardaí in the country are based in North Dublin Area but community in Ballymun feels intimidated.
Watch Prime Time tonight at 9.35pm on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player
In a special report tonight, RTÉ Investigates will broadcast undercover filming of the steep rise in open drug dealing in one community in the capital, where crack cocaine use is on the increase. RTÉ Prime Time’s Fran McNulty has over several weeks, delved into the drug addiction problems, that continue to beset Ballymun in Dublin.
New figures published today show that cocaine, in powder form and the more potent crack cocaine in rock form are a growing problem across the country. The latest Health Research Board statistics spell out the reality of crack cocaine use today in Ireland.
Dr Anne Marie Carew, Research Officer for the Health Research Board, told RTÉ Investigates that between 2014 – 2020, there has been a 400% increase in the numbers seeking treatment for crack cocaine addiction, from a low base of approximately 84 cases seven years ago. These figures only reflect those users who come forward for treatment, so the real scale of the problem is suspected to be much worse. The Health Research Board describe the crack problem in Ballymun as “acute” by comparison to other areas in the capital.
80% of those seeking help who use crack live in Dublin. Ballymun is the community with the highest level of people with opiate addiction in the country, 10 times the national average, making it ripe ground for this destructive drug. Drug dealers capitalised on that vulnerability, targeting people with crack cocaine. The intense high from crack cocaine lasts only seconds. The craving for more, leads some people to smoke heroin. The heroin mellows them, so they can feel the next hit even better. A rock of crack costs €20 and a bag of heroin costs €15.
RTÉ Investigates have been monitoring several locations where drugs are openly sold on the streets, in full glare of the public.
One such location is close to a senior citizen housing complex in Ballymun, where dealers have set up shop, with multiple escape routes available.
To see how big a problem drug dealing was at the location, RTÉ Investigates secretly filmed there over five days last month. Viewers tonight will see how on the first day alone, undercover cameras filmed over 42 potential drug deals in just a four-hour afternoon period.
Tonight’s programme shows young children regularly passing by as open drug dealing happens. In the 15 minutes it took for children to pass by the location, as they made their way home from primary school, RTÉ Investigates recorded at least nine deals, taking place in front of some of those children. The footage also shows a young toddler standing beside a woman who is asking a dealer for heroin.
Tonight’s programme raises several questions including why dealers are being allowed sell drugs openly in broad daylight in multiple locations across Ballymun. The programme will also examine how social deprivation and poverty is proven to increase the risk of drug addiction for young people. As well as speaking to users of crack cocaine it will also feature a unique programme which aims to break the cycle of addiction in the area by intervening in families early, in some cases even before children are born.
In a statement An Garda Síochana said, there are currently 31 members of the Gardaí assigned to the to the Divisional Drugs Unit in the North Dublin Area, almost 10% of the Drug Unit Gardaí in the country. They also point out that they do not have any blanket or general powers of stop and search.
“The level of open drug dealing we have here just would not be tolerated in other communities, in more advantaged communities in this country. There would be an outcry, and something would be done about it.” – Andrew Montague Former Lord Mayor & Author Brighter Futures.
RTÉ Investigates – Crack and the Community is presented by Fran McNulty and produced and directed by Janet Traynor.
Watch Prime Time, tonight at 9.35pm on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player