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task force Gardai and Council to tackle drug dealing in estate where drugs supermarket has been operating

Taskforce, involving the Limerick Garda Division and Limerick City and County Council, will support and assist the community in the St Mary's Park area

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A joint task force, involving Gardai and Limerick City and County Council, has been established to tackle drug dealing and anti social behaviour in St Mary’s Park where a drugs supermarket has been operating.

The taskforce, involving the Limerick Garda Division and Limerick City and County Council, will support and assist the community in the St Mary's Park area of Limerick city where derelict houses are used to store drugs.

During a planned operation in the estate on March 4th last, gardai recovered €50,000 worth of cash and drugs including cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and prescription tablets, and two men and a boy were arrested and questioned before being released without charge.

Four new community gardai have been deployed to patrol the estate as part of the Garda Operation Copóg, which is solely focused on drugs and anti-social behaviour in the area.

The four Gardaí will be deployed on high visibility patrols to increase community engagement with officers, deter drug activity, and assist residents.

Gardaí from the Henry Street District and the Divisional Drug Unit will also continue to carry out regular patrols of the area, a Garda spokesman said.

As part of the joint operation with the Council, the local authority is to fast rack the demolition of 12 derelict houses on St Munchin’s Street - and area in the estate plagued by drug dealing.

A derelict premises, which formerly operated as a fast food takeaway business is also to be demolished.

A road constructed in the area without Council approval is expected to be removed, along with any other unauthorised structures on Council-owned land and open spaces in St Munchin’s Street.

The Council will also remove palisade fencing on St Munchin’s Street to improve the aesthetics of the street.

Throughout the operation, Limerick City and County Council will liaise with residents through the local Regeneration Committee regarding the works programme, and Council staff will also be liaising with Gardaí on daily basis regarding the operation.

Launching the operation today, Limerick Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche, said: "We are 100% focused on stopping drug dealing and anti-social behaviour in all parts of Limerick. Unfortunately some of the derelict buildings in the St Mary's Park area have attracted drug use and we intend on stamping this out with the help of the Council and the local community.”

“Drugs have such a negative impact on so many lives and have no place in our community. We would ask that if you notice any drug activity, that you report it to Gardaí immediately,” Chief Roche added.

Dr Pat Daly, chief executive of Limerick City and County Council revealed the Council is “accelerating plans in St Mary’s Park which will see the demolition of 12 houses in St Munchin’s Street as part of the taskforce, and by working together we can support the residents of St Mary’s Park, who deserve to be free from the twin scourges of drugs and anti-social behaviour”.

"The Council will play its part in helping to improve the environment in St Mary’s Park and I’m also calling on the private owners of derelict properties to engage with the Council to develop a plan for their development.”

Mr Daly said the operation needed community support for it to work to tackle drug dealing and general crime in the estate: “We also need the support of the local residents and we are asking them to report any incidents of criminal activity or anti-social behaviour, so they can be dealt with.”

Local Sinn Fein TD, Maurice Quinlivan who is a director of the Mid West Drug and Alcohol Taskforce welcomed the joint Garda Council operation and called for increased funding for drugs services who he said “will be facing a tsunami of addiction when the current pandemic restrictions end”.

“I have raised this issue with the Minister for Justice, the relevant Minister of State and others or a number of months now. Families in this estate have been living with the presence of open 24-hour drug dealing for a long time. One house has been acting like a drug supermarket for months.”

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