The Dublin coastal town of Dún Laoghaire, a much sought after residential area, has a growing drug problem.

The suburban coastal town of Dún Laoghaire in County Dublin has the reputation of being a nice place to live, with many families settled in the area. Young people in Dún Laoghaire are more affluent and more likely to have jobs than their lesser advantaged peers elsewhere.

In 1982 evidence of a drug problem was seen in the Dún Laoghaire Shopping Centre. John Davey is a representative of the Dún Laoghaire Centre Traders Association and owner of Bookstop. He says the warm, dry environment of the shopping centre attracted drug use. Also, the sheer volume of young people prevented elderly people and those with young families from coming to the centre. 

In a three week campaign, the private security firm employed in the centre, along with An Garda Síochána cracked down on drug use and succeeded in containing the problem. Drug abuse was still evident on the streets of Dún Laoghaire although less than originally feared.

Local curate of the parish of St Michael’s, Father Brian Power has seen the drug problem developing in the area since 1979. The author of two studies on heroin use and his findings show that at any one time in the borough there are 300 young people using heroin, and he would not be surprised if this figure is higher. 

Father Power says it is the less well off families in the area that are most likely to have drug problems but says a blind eye is turned to,

Quite a bit of experimentation with other drugs which I believe goes on at all levels.

Parents and community leaders need to educate themselves about drugs and see what they can do for their children rather than fighting pushers. He believes getting rid of the big dealers should be a matter for the authorities.

However, parents are agitated that there has not been more success against drug pushers and are taking matters into their own hands. This is evident in Smyth's Villas off York Road, known locally as death row. The 65 householders mounted a picket on the road before forming a committee for concerned parents.

Resident Francie Redmond says they are concerned for their children and grandchildren and are sick of seeing addicts taking drugs on the street.

The people on the road with me had to come and take a stand for ourselves.

The residents taking action are critical of the perceived inactivity of the government and the Minister for Health Barry Desmond. 

A 'Today Tonight' report broadcast on 28 November 1984. The reporter is Pat Cox.