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Ballymun Local Drugs and Alcohol Task Force 

Statement in response to Setanta GAA Club’s open letter to Drugs Minister, Catherine Byrne

 

The Ballymun Local Drugs and Alcohol Task Force (BLDATF) welcomes the initiative taken by Setanta GAA,  one of our main sports clubs, to highlight its concerns around the increase in crack cocaine use in the area and the risks this poses to local people and local young people in particular.  THE BLDATF shares these concerns.  We are aware that local people and organisations are all witnessing a very pronounced growth in crack cocaine use and activity related with the selling of crack.  They have seen the impact of crack use on individuals in the area whose physical and mental health has drastically deteriorated within a very short period of time.  They have seen the profoundly negative effects on local families.  Each passing day we listen to more and more concerns about the behaviour of those selling and using crack cocaine and the negative effects this is having on our community. 

Despite strong and very encouraging progress towards recovery for many people and their families over the past few years, this sudden and escalating increase of crack related problems over the past 12 months has reversed much of our collective efforts in Ballymun.

We are very concerned that local addiction support and youth organisations, which have endured severe funding reductions over the past 10 years, are now having massive additional loads being placed upon them. 

If asked, the BLDATF would advise the government to prioritise areas where crack cocaine is adding to already overburdened communities.  We would advise Minister Catherine Byrne (Minister of State for the National Drugs Strategy) that the most constructive way of responding to Setanta’s open letter would be to announce a restoration of funding for drugs services in the LDATF areas (which have had a 30 per cent reduction over the past 10 years).  We would advise the Minister for Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone to restore funding to our local youth organisations, at the very least, back to 2008 levels.  We would advise the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan to restore Garda resources for the Ballymun area back to 2008 levels, particularly in our community policing and drug units.

 

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Ballymun Local Drugs Task Force, Axis Centre, Main Street, Ballymun, Dublin 9

Phone: 01 883 2142 | Email: info@ballymundtf.ie

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