Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

13.35 28 May 2021


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Dozens of buildings are being used as so-called 'crack houses' in the Tallaght area, locals say.

The Dublin suburb has been dealing a sharp increase in the use of crack cocaine, with local charities and community workers saying there are simply not enough resources in place to properly help the drug users.

Meanwhile, residents have expressed shock at how openly the drug is being sold in the area - with one local man telling Newstalk reporter Josh Crosbie "it's like an ice-cream van going around".

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Josh spoke to locals in the area for a Pat Kenny Show report on the crack cocaine issues in Tallaght.

Up to 100 'crack houses' in Tallaght area, locals say

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One of the main concerns is that children and families may be living in the same homes that are now being used as the so-called crack houses.

Larry O’Neill, CEO of South Dublin County Partnership, said: “My estimate is there could be up to 100 in the Tallaght area.

"These are homes, and there can be children and families involved… they may not be directly involved, but they’ll be impacted by what’s going on.

“There are [also] people walking out of recovery sessions and being followed, and drugs being put into their letterboxes and handbags.

“Yes, there is prostitution and forced sex to settle debts… it is unbelievable our society has gone down that far, and yet there’s no political will here."

Mr O'Neill said he lays the blame for the problem on politicians, as they're the only ones who can solve the problem.

He said there's been no increase in the necessary resources for the last 15 years.

He said local community gardaí do a really good job, but they're "far too few" in number to do what's really needed.

Mr O'Neill also suggested society as a whole needs to change its approach to helping drug users, along with extra funding for services.

"It’s chaos in the home"

Grace Hill is the coordinator for the Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force.

She said crack isn't the only drug being used, with many people using heroin or other drugs to "come down" after smoking crack cocaine.

She said: “In Jobstown alone, they identified 31 crack houses. That’s very serious… some of those are residential homes.

“Young people are using language like ‘there are parties in my house’. That’s very striking to us… it’s chaos in the home, and that comes with crack cocaine use.”

Shane Hamilton, coordinator of the JADD (Jobstown Assisting Drug Dependency) project - explained that crack cocaine gives users a "very brief and intense high", and it becomes increasingly difficult to replicate that high.

The cost of a crack cocaine 'rock' is said to be around €10-20 - however, it's available so cheaply and freely that some people are using as many as 10 rocks a day.

Mr Hamilton said crack is a stimulant that can increase people’s heart rate and agitation, therefore “making people much more volatile in their actions.”

He said: “What you have now is a very unstable pattern of drug use within the community, with a very expensive habit."

Community groups are calling for an inter-agency approach to deal with what they say is now a "public health crisis" in the community.

Grace Hill said the approach also needs to be about more than simply seizing the drugs, as the communities would still face inter-generational addiction problems with other drugs if crack is suddenly unavaible.

She added: "We want to work with our partners in the HSE... there needs to be a joined-up approach to this.

"The main thing the HSE is providing in terms of crack cocaine is just harm reduction services. It's not enough.

"Let's recognise that poly-drug use is real, and let's have a treatment service that recognises and responds to that."

Main image: FIle photo. Picture by: Boris Roessler/DPA/PA Images

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