Justice minister, Michael McDowell, today demanded a report from gardai after men were photographed injecting drugs just yards away from officers in the heart of Dublin’s Temple Bar.
Mr McDowell said there was a serious cause for concern if the men had not been arrested and searched.
The photographs printed in today’s Irish Independent appeared to show that gardai took no action over the incident.
The newspaper showed three drug users injecting on an afternoon with their equipment laid out on a wooden pallet.
A sequence of pictures showed two officers approach the men then move away. The pictures showed the men pack up and return later, before they were approached by more officers on bicycles.
It was reported that gardai spoke to the men but did not arrest them.
Mr McDowell said that if the report was correct he would be very disappointed by the officers’ behaviour.
He told reporters: “The public generally are entitled to expect that when an indictable offence appears to be committed in a public place that it is dealt with in a manner which is proportionate to the seriousness of the offence.”
He said he had asked Deputy Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy for a report into the matter.
Labour’s justice spokesman Joe Costello called for stricter law enforcement in light of the story.
He said: “To anyone with any knowledge of life on the streets in the centre of the capital, these pictures can hardly come as a huge surprise.
“However the sight of gardai standing beside the young men as they shoot up is alarming.”
He added: “Stricter enforcement by the gardai and improved resources for facilities and education to wean addicts off must be implemented immediately.”