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Operation Copóg Concern as crack cocaine 'drugs supermarket' operates in Limerick estate

Deputy Quinlivan said that Operation Copóg, a joint initiative involving Limerick City and County Council, gardai, and other State agencies in response to concerns over antisocial behaviour, has not been effective enough.

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Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan said the Garda operation has so far 'failed' to stem the tide of drugs pouring into the St Mary's Park estate. Photo: Mark Condren

Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan said the Garda operation has so far 'failed' to stem the tide of drugs pouring into the St Mary's Park estate. Photo: Mark Condren

Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan said the Garda operation has so far 'failed' to stem the tide of drugs pouring into the St Mary's Park estate. Photo: Mark Condren

The sale and supply of illegal drugs in Limerick is at a “tipping point,” a Sinn Féin TD told the Dáil yesterday.

Maurice Quinlivan drew attention to a “drugs supermarket” existing in St Mary’s Park housing estate, where a leading supplier of crack cocaine is known to operate on a “near 24/7 basis.”

“The drugs supermarket isn't like some Amsterdam coffee house - the main business isn't hash. It's main business is the sale of one of the most addictive and destructive drugs possible - crack cocaine,” the Dáil heard.

Deputy Quinlivan said that Operation Copóg, a joint initiative involving Limerick City and County Council, gardai, and other State agencies in response to concerns over antisocial behaviour, has not been effective enough.

“Twelve months on we are not seeing the results we hoped for,” he said after raising the matter.

“Crack cocaine is prevalent in Limerick and the wider mid-west. Success in this matter can now only be measured on whether the forces of the State can permanently close this crack-dealing hub and take those who profit from sales off our streets.”

Responding to Deputy Quinlivan’s concerns, Minister of State at the Department of Justice James Browne, insisted that Operation Copóg has been successful thus far.

He said that a dedicated “community policing” team have been monitoring the St Mary’s Park area and numerous arrests, searches, and seizures have been made in Limerick to date.

Deputy Browne added that he has been informed of a search operation that was executed in the area on December 21.

One man was arrested in relation to the investigation and appeared before Limerick District Court that day, while €700 worth of suspected cocaine was seized, along with items used for the preparation of crack cocaine, including baking soda and chemical ammonia.

Deputy Browne said that Operation Copóg was initially due to continue for just three months but has been extended on a number of occasions for operational reasons, adding that gardaí continue to engage closely with Limerick City, County Council, and residents to tackle the issue.

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