Sunday, July 5, 2009

The fight against drugs in Balbriggan - Let's involve the community

Local Sinn Féin representative Fergus Byrne has welcomed the seizure of €1.5m worth of drugs in Balbriggan on Wednesday and we in Sinn Féin commend the Gardaí for their action.

This seizure of drugs worth €1.5m in Balbriggan will undoubtedly be a serious blow to the drugs gang responsible and Balbriggan Sinn Féin would like to congratulate the Garda officers involved.

However, whilst this Garda operation is to be welcomed it is clear from the last year or so that increased seizures are evidence of increased demand and availability of drugs in our cities and towns. A further example of this is the fact that there are more people seeking help for addiction now than for a number of years.

We all know that illegal drug use has a devastating impact on the lives on individuals, families and communities and if we in Balbriggan do not deal with this problem now then the long-term consequences could be disastrous.

Sinn Féin has a long history of supporting local communities across Dublin in trying to combat the scourge of drugs in their area. From that experience we know that the only way to tackle the drug problem is through a combined approach involving the Gardaí, support agencies for drug users and the local community.
What the government must do to help tackle the problem is to show a real commitment to taking positive action. Whether the government likes it or not what is needed is
1) EXTRA RESOURCES for the Garda drug squads.
2) EXTRA RESOURCES and increased funding for those working at the coal face in dealing with drug addiction.
3) Commitment to involving the community in the fight against drugs.

On a local level we must push our Fingal County Council and Balbriggan Town Council to give increased support and publicity to the excellent work carried out drug treatment groups active in our local areas.

However, we in Sinn Féin believe that the best way to beat drugs is by involving the local community. Initiatives such as the confidential non-Garda "dial to stop drug dealing" free phone number 1800 220 220 are to be welcomed and should be used by local people to report drug dealing in their area.

However, we also believe that the Gardaí need to actively work with local residents groups in helping to deal with all sorts of anti-social activity within a community, including drugs. Local people know what is happening in their area and they need to feel confident that the Gardaí are there to support them in keeping their community a safe place.

What is required is a positive programme to encourage the setting up of Residents Groups throughout Balbriggan. These groups should have good links with the local council and Gardaí in order to help address the needs of the local community. Local people are willing and able to help address problems in their areas, but they need to feel they have support.

If these steps are taken NOW and communites are actively supported in looking after their area, then we can win the fight against drugs in Balbriggan. However, if not then the problem of illegal drug use, and the criminality that accompanies it, will only get worse.


  1. Fegus Byrne, local Sinn Féin rep in Balbriggan,is doing great work on the drugs and anti-social issue in the Newhaven Bay area. Now is the time for other communties to unite and say enough is enough - we demand to live in safe communties.

  2. Good piece. If communities are not supported then that will allow the scum to take over. This has happened in too may of our communities.
    I'm glad to see SF taking a lead in pushing the need for local communities to be the key to the problem. Now let's see what you do.