Local concern over city heroin den

A concerned resident of the Riverside Estate on the Tuam Road has demanded action over heroin use in the area. The man, who does not wish to be named, has provided photographic evidence of a user’s den which has been created adjacent to the estate.

For those who are not familiar with the Riverside Estate, there is a playing field at the bottom which runs into the Terryland Forest Park. The man claims that during the summer, the heroin users were located in a man-made den inside Terryland Park, but due to the lack of foilage to provide cover, they were forced to move location over the winter months.

“Where they were previously they were sort of hidden by bushes but everyone knew they were there. Now they have moved over the wall from the Riverside Estate playing field. They can be seen from the pathway where there are women, children, and elderly people walking on a daily basis and it is not good enough. Their den is scattered with syringes, tinfoil, little cooking pots which they obviously use to melt the heroin. I also found a huge carving knife, a screwdriver, and two sewer rods, whatever they are using them for.”

The resident says it is not acceptable that these drug users are operating in the vicinity of a recreational area. “Having heroin users based in a park where kids are playing and families are walking is crazy - just pure madness. I see them passing every day - men and women - they are like the walking dead. I do feel sorry for them - like God love them it is a disease and they are in stuck in a rut of addiction, but this is not the place for them.”

He has been in contact with the gardai but feels he is not being listened to. “I know the guards were down a few times during the summer and they moved them on but they just keep coming back. I rang the guards again recently and told them they had moved their den and it was now visible to users of the playing field, they said they would come and move them but it hasn’t happened. I’m sorry for the people who are now afraid to go down to the park. The guard I was speaking to told me they would not mug you, they are more likely to break into houses or steal from shops, but how can they be sure?”

He says there is also an issue with dealing in the area. “There was dealing going on up the road - on the lane-way between the Tuam Road and the estate. A big car would pull up and supply these four guys with the gear. They would sit down in the park and people were coming up to them to collect it. Seemingly there are different spots in different areas, and if one gets hot [draws attention from the gardai], they move on.”

It is frustrating to see blatant drug dealing and usage in such close proximity to one’s home. “I just want something done about it. Somebody told me the guards don’t care once they are out of the city centre and not hassling people in there. I don’t know if that is true but I am wondering is it a case of out of sight, out of mind?”

In reply to the resident’s concerns, a garda spokeswoman at Galway garda station said the gardai are dependent on the public for information about drug related offences and all complaints are taken seriously. “We are fully committed to investigating all criminal activity including drug related offences. If any member of the public witnesses drug use or alleged drug dealing please do not hesitate to contact us. There are a number of operations ongoing within the division targeting individuals involved in such activity including high vis patrols and covert operations. As is the nature of covert operations, members of the public will not realise when Gardai are in the area.”

The spokeswoman added that the Divisional Drug Unit made a significant seizure of heroin in the city area in recent weeks. “A man was arrested in connection with this haul and is currently before the courts.”

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