Residents threaten to place picket on ‘drug den’

Residents of a Galway City estate may picket one of their neighbour’s houses – to highlight ongoing drug dealing.

The residents’ association of one housing estate on the west side of the city have debated whether direct action, such as a protest, might spur the authorities into action.

Mayor of Galway Mike Cubbard has highlighted the ‘neighbours from hell’, in an otherwise quiet estate.

He has urged Gardaí, and the landlord, to take action against the occupants of the house, who are known drug dealers and using it as a base to deal.

It’s been ongoing for several years, but the problem has become more noticeable during the Covid-19 lockdown as undesirables are attracted to the house to buy drugs.

“The last few weeks it has just escalated to a whole new level. They’re drawing every sort of scumbag from all over the city up there. Some well dodgy characters, now.

“There was a night two weeks back when someone tried to petrol bomb the house. Ambulance, guards and Fire Brigade were all out on the street at 1.30 in the morning,” he said.

The Mayor has spoken with Gardaí about the problem but residents – who have also met with senior Gardaí – are frustrated about a lack of action, he said.

“A few of them want to picket the house, but there’s a bit of a divide in the residents’ association with some residents saying that is not the way to go about it, because it will draw attention on the estate,” he said.

Gardaí have made door-to-door inquiries in recent weeks. The landlord of the property has been contacted by Gardaí, and according to the Mayor, the Residential Tenancies Board has been notified.

“They’re dealing night, noon and morning from there. I spoke to the guards last Saturday and they said they are dealing with it, and there is a crackdown and the landlord is going to try to get them out, as soon as he can. Ironically, under the Covid-19 lockdown legislation you can’t evict someone, even though they are dealing drugs,” he said.

The Mayor said residents are living in fear.

“It’s a good community up there, a lot of elderly people living there and some student accommodation. There’s no real hassle in the estate apart from this one house. You can’t have a situation where fellas are trying to burn a house down in the middle of an estate.

“It’s something that needs to be dealt with once and for all. It’s an issue that is hugely concerning for residents. They expect the Gardaí to come along and sort it out, and for the landlord to step-up and ensure the integrity of the estate is kept up,” he added.

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