Updated: Sep 4, 2020
Our neighbourhoods are being torn apart by violence connected to drug gangs. As a community based organisation, CRJI sees the impact of such activity firsthand. We need a restorative solution.
"This is our call: give us assistance, give us hope, and together we can make a difference."
CRJI has for a number of years raised the issue of serious crime gang activity, particularly activity that is associated with organised drug gangs. The deadly shooting of a Dublin man in Belfast on Saturday on April 4th 2020 reinforces the gradual creep and reach of these organised gangs into the North of Ireland. Dublin and other Southern Irish cities have for many years been plagued with this type of drug and gun crime. Communities have literally been broken by the impact of addiction and death. On Saturday, we called on the #PSNI and the #Gardaí to formulate an all island response to these death gangs and to set up an all island task force to tackle the kingpins of this trade at the source.
We live and work in the heart of the communities most impacted by drugs, addiction, and the violence that flows from this trade. We need action now—at the level of the police, but also beyond. We need proper addiction services, including medical, physical, and mental health interventions, along with services that protect vulnerable families who are being intimidated to pay drug debts of a family member that leaves an extended family in deeper poverty.
CRJI would also encourage a broadening in the thinking of the drug debate, since nowhere are we aware of the so-called war on drugs being won. Maybe it is time to do things in a different way, dismantle the cartels, support the addicts with proper services, and most of all, educate our young people. There are good practices happening in other countries. We need to embrace new ideas, try new methods and together—community and state—tackle this scourge.
We at CRJI don't profess to be experts in the drug field—we bend to those that are—however, we do encounter the sharp end of the drug gangs in all its forms (extortion, addiction, self harm, poverty, and murder). Like many in these communities we are searching for solutions. This is our call: give us assistance, give us hope, and together we can make a difference.