epidemic | 

Private house is being used like a ‘24/7 crack cocaine superstore’, despite Garda raids

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David Raleigh

A private house is being used as a ‘24-hour drugs supermarket’ despite several Garda raids in the past year, a policing meeting was told.

The Limerick joint policing committee heard of an “epidemic” of drug dealing across the city and county, as local gardaí revealed they had seized €1m more worth of drugs this year than in 2020.

Gardaí have seized drugs to a value of €2.8m on Shannonside so far this year.

Limerick Chief Superintendent Gerry Roche established ‘Operation Copog’ specifically targeting the sale of drugs in St Mary’s Park last March.

However, Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan said that, in his view, the operation has so far “failed” to stem the tide of drugs pouring into the estate.

He told the meeting of one house on the estate where the front door has been blocked off with cement, with a small gap left to allow for drugs transactions.

“I know there have been raids on that property but it is operating 24/7 – it doesn’t even have a front door anymore, they cemented that up.

"You put your hand in through a (gap), I’ve seen it myself.” He described “an ongoing circus” involving gardaí targeting the property followed by the activity being “back up and running half an hour later”.

In a written response to Mr Quinlivan, Chief Supt Roche explained that Operation Copog was “continuing” and “there have been nine search operations conducted under warrant in St Mary’s Park since September 3”.

Chief Supt Roche said “one particular house has been searched on more than one occasion”.

“The sale of crack cocaine from one particular house in St Mary’s Park is an ongoing problem, despite frequent Garda searches and prosecutions. The house in question has been reinforced and some structural changes have been made to make entry to the house more difficult.”

He said he could not discuss any particular case but added: “It’s a privately owned house and that causes more issues as regards what the council can do as well”.

Chief Supt Roche said gardaí and Limerick City and County Council were liaising to see if they could take enforcement action.

He said Garda HQ had lifted a limit on overtime in the Limerick Division to help keep keep officers on the frontline.

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