I was in touch with the Garda authorities following the newspaper reports concerning incidents of drug abuse activity in Temple Bar. I was informed by the Garda authorities that two separate incidents occurred at Copper Alley, Temple Bar on 28 May, 2003. In the first incident at about 2.45 p.m., two Garda personnel responded to a call where they encountered three males who appeared to be injecting a substance. Details of the individuals' names and addresses were noted. They were searched but controlled substances were not found and they were directed to leave the area.
In the second incident, at about 4.50 p.m. on the same day, two different Garda officers responded to a call to Copper Alley. On arrival, they saw two men in the process of what appeared to be injecting themselves. In this case also, details of names and addresses were obtained, both individuals were searched, again with no controlled substance being found, and they were directed to leave the area.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Garda response to both incidents was prompt. However, I am also informed that further action is available to the Garda and was called for in such circumstances such as conveying the individuals to a Garda station for the purpose of thorough search and the seizure of syringes for forensic examination. That was not done. Instructions have been issued on ways to deal with such situations in the future.
In making these points I do not seek to minimise the hazards faced by gardaí in dealing with these situations. Neither however, do I wish to suggest that it is somehow acceptable or should be regarded as routine that the general public should have to witness drug abuse on our public streets. It is completely unacceptable and it is manifestly right that whatever action can be taken to prevent it should be taken, including the course of action I referred to earlier.