Undercover filming by RTÉ Investigates will tonight reveal “extensive” daylight drug dealing in Ballymun as schoolchildren pass by.
The north Dublin suburb is experiencing an “acute” problem with crack cocaine use compared to other areas of the capital, according to the Health Research Board.
In a special report tonight, RTÉ Investigates has been monitoring several locations where drugs are openly sold on the streets and secretly filmed one location close to a senior citizen housing complex in Ballymun over five days last month.
On the first day alone, undercover cameras filmed over 42 potential drug deals in just one four-hour period during the afternoon.
With young children regularly passing by as open drug dealing happens, the programme recorded at least nine deals taking place in front of some of those children, in the 15 minutes it takes them to pass by as they make their way home from primary school.
Problem across Ireland
Cocaine use, in both powder form and the more potent crack cocaine solid form, is a growing problem across the country according to new figures published today from the Health Research Board.
Between 2014 and 2020, there has been a 400 per cent increase in the numbers seeking treatment for crack cocaine addiction, from a low base of approximately 84 cases seven years ago.
Dr Anne Marie Carew, research officer for the Health Research Board, said these figures only reflect users who come forward for treatment and the real scale of the problem is suspected to be worse.
With 80 per cent of those seeking treatment living in Dublin, Ballymun is the community with the highest level of people with opiate addiction in the country, at 10 times the national average.
Tonight's programme raises several questions, including why dealers are being allowed sell drugs openly in broad daylight
“Tonight's programme raises several questions, including why dealers are being allowed sell drugs openly in broad daylight in multiple locations across Ballymun,” RTÉ said in a statement.
“The programme will also examine how social deprivation and poverty is proven to increase the risk of drug addiction for young people.
“As well as speaking to users of crack cocaine it will also feature a unique programme which aims to break the cycle of addiction in the area by intervening in families early, in some cases even before children are born.”
An Garda Síochana said there are currently 31 members of the gardaí assigned to the Divisional Drugs Unit in the north Dublin area — almost 10 per cent of drug unit gardaí in the country.
RTÉ Investigates – Crack and the Community is presented by Fran McNulty and will air tonight at 9.35pm on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player.