Concerns at rise in drug dealing by school children

By Aideen O'Flaherty

ISSUES with young people dealing drugs in Fettercairn have become worse in recent weeks, according to a local councillor, who also claims that a number of primary school-aged children have been dealing.

According to anti-social behaviour statistics that were recently released by South Dublin County Council, there was a significant increase in reports about drug activity in Tallaght.

Fettercairn 21 cropped 1

There is reports of an increase in drug dealing by young people in the Fettercairn area

The local authority received 101 reports of drug activity in Tallaght in 2020, which is more than double the number of reports they received in 2019, totalling 48.

In respect of the Fettercairn area of Tallaght, local Sinn Féin councillor Louise Dunne said she has noticed an increase in the number of young people involved in drug dealing and drug running in the area, and has been made aware of instances of primary school-aged children being involved.

Cllr Dunne told The Echo: “The drug dealing in Fettercairn is always visible, but I think it’s even more visible now because so many people are staying in their homes.

“Pre-lockdown, children were walking home from school and seeing people dealing right in front of their eyes, so it’s become normalised for them and that’s so wrong.”

She added: “To say I’m angry about young people dealing would be an understatement. These are young children who are being groomed into this and who know no better.

“A lot of the children who are involved in this are living in poverty, and they see dealers in nice clothes and with nice cars, and they feel there’s no other option for them.

“We all have a responsibility to show children that they can have better opportunities in their lives, so they’re not going down the road of criminality.

“We’ve a huge population of young people in the area who are being left behind.

“I think the community needs to come together, along with the guards and the council, to pursue those who are drug dealing.

“Families are being devastated by drug dealing and drug addiction – it's become too normalised.”

Cllr Dunne said the issues in Fettercairn will be discussed at a local policing forum this Friday.

Mary Keegan, from Fettercairn Estate Management, has also seen the spiralling issues with drug dealing and anti-social behaviour in the area.

“The issue with drug dealing in Fettercairn has never stopped,” she explained. “Kids have been dealing there for quite a while.

“And it’s not just to do with the pandemic – people are seeing it more because it’s happening more.

“People are taking the opportunity to get out there now and take advantage of services being stretched.

“There are people in their homes who don’t feel comfortable about coming out in the community [because of anti-social behaviour].

“But Fettercairn isn’t the only community in Tallaght that’s dealing with this, I’m sure there are many other people in other areas saying the same things are happening there.”

Across the Tallaght area in 2020, the council received 124 reports of violence, intimidation and harassment, compared to 54 in 2019, while 24 instances of criminal activity were reported, compared to 18 in 2019.

The council’s Allocations Support Unit, which is tasked with dealing with anti-social behaviour, carried out 553 house calls and inspections last year, issued 166 warnings, and obtained 39 surrenders from tenants whose contracts were terminated by the council as a result of anti-social activity.

Ms Keegan added that she believes a programme should be developed to assist the parents of the young people who are engaged in drug dealing and other anti-social behaviour.

“Unless something happens soon, it’s only going to get worse and worse,” she said.

A garda spokesperson was contacted for comment, but a response wasn’t received in time for print.

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