Fine Gael councillor Emmet O’Halloran described the drug-dealing as a sinister development and said the HSE, city officials, and gardaí need to work together to devise an urgent response.“It was quite shocking to see this going on in broad daylight in a busy city park in the city,” he said.
Mr O’Halloran had been enjoying a lunchtime coffee, midweek in Bishop Lucey Park off the Grand Parade when he witnessed the incident. The park, he said, was packed with tourists, parents and children enjoying the sunshine, students, and office workers on lunch breaks.
Mr O’Halloran was on a bench near the park’s fountain and noticed three white men in their 30s, who spoke with foreign accents, sit on a nearby bench. The men spoke for several minutes before Mr O’Halloran saw cash change hands and a small bag aws passed from one man to another.
Mr O’Halloran, who contacted gardaí, said he is 100% sure it was a heroin deal. “I worked in the IFSC in Dublin for several years and my office was close to a methadone clinic,” he said.
“Every lunchtime, we had to walk through crowds of heroin addicts. You could tell from their faces they were in the advanced stage of heroin addiction. I know what I saw in Cork the other day. But I never thought I’d have to see it here.”
Mr O’Halloran said he has had complaints from residents of the Middle Parish about heroin dealing in St Peter’s Park off Grattan St, and from some owners of business premises on North Main St about dealing in that area too.
“We need to nip this in the bud before it gets out of hand,” he said. “It is very tough for the gardaí because these guys can disappear very quickly. Gardaí need to step up patrols and adopt a zero tolerance approach. But we also require a multi-agency response. The time for talking about the response to the problem is over. We really need to act.”
A Garda spokesman said they are treating the heroin problem very seriously.
“It is constantly on our radar and we have a strategic plan in place,” he said.
“We have a dedicated unit focused solely on the problem, targeting known problem areas.
“We have arrested several people and brought them before the courts.”
A spokesperson for the Cork Local Drugs Taskforce was not available for comment last night.