A GAA club in Ballymun in Dublin has warned that there is an "epidemic" of crack cocaine use in the local community.
This GAA club is raising concerns about a rising drug problem in Ballymun. pic.twitter.com/eQcVo6OEic— RTÉ News (@rtenews) September 13, 2018
In a letter to Minister of State for the National Drugs Strategy Catherine Byrne, Setanta GAA says the problem "has increased tenfold in recent times" and "the number of users walking the streets like skeletons is a minute-by-minute event for us all to see".
The letter, written on behalf of Setanta’s Executive Committee, says a failure by the Government to address youth unemployment and properly resource the areas of housing, youth development, and policing has led to an increase in drug use and young people becoming vulnerable to being "groomed into dealing on a weekly basis".
The letter calls on the Government to commit extra resources to Ballymun with "a quick response to this epidemic, not political speeches or manoeuvres".
Club Secretary Liam O’Brien says members younger than 15 have dropped out of club activities due to drug use.
In the coming weeks the club is running a drugs awareness education programme for younger members with the aim of "helping them make better choices".
A spokesperson for Ms Byrne says the Minister recognises the challenges for the Ballymun community and is making it her priority to reply to the concerns of Setanta GAA club.