‘Gangs warning vulnerable families to pay drug debts of children ‘or see loved one shot dead or seriously injured.’
‘There is little gardai can do to protect home, property or loved ones.’
‘Power lies with the criminals.’
Sligo News File Online.
A member of a Dublin drugs task force has spoken of the terror being faced by communities in the Capital.
Deputy Sean Crowe said,
“The CityWide report on intimidation is timely and the information that some drug dealers are pursuing parents for drug debts will come as a shock…, but is an accurate account of what is happening in many communities right across Dublin.”
“Unfortunately, it is becoming all too familiar in some areas with debts of thousands of euros being demanded off hard pressed families.
“Vulnerable families are told in some cases to ‘pay up or see your loved shot dead or seriously injured.’
The Sinn Fein TD said the study revealed that “two-thirds of drug users who are intimidated or attacked by gangs do not report the incidents to the Gardaí. But many have said to me that they are between a rock and a hard place and there is very little that the Garda Authorities can do to protect their home, property or more importantly loved ones.
“The power lies with the criminals.
“The Garda don’t have the resources for round the clock surveillance, but can and do offer advice.
He said the “CityWide report suggests that half of the attacks that they were aware of involved physical violence and family members of drug users being intimidated.
“The report claims that in one-third of it cases, the mothers of drug users were targeted, and also, in a third of cases damage was done to homes and property.
“It went on to say that the excuse for the attacks was alleged drug debts of between €500 and €5,000, but this can be a lot higher.”
In my experience, he said, “the intimidation is not just confined to parents.
“Grandmothers and grandfathers have also been approached and forced to pay out under the very real threat of seeing their grandchild shot dead or seriously injured.”
He said the CityWide anti-drugs campaign “also revealed that in many cases the debt did not go away even when it was supposed to have been paid off.
“I have been made aware of a number of cases where after paying the so-called debt, another group of criminals call and say that they own the debt and the cycle of intimidation continues for the family involved.
Welcoming the report, he said, “it is timely and requires a societal and justice response.
“It suggests targeting local criminals’ money and an extension of the Criminal Assets Bureau to localised Garda districts.
“This move would be wholeheartedly supported by any drug activists and take the fight directly to the drug dealers and their finances.”
He urged anyone trapped in the situation to contact the Garda Authorities and seek help. “It is a confidential service and no pressure will be put on the family that is seeking advice.”