Limerick council acquires suspected drug dens for conversion to housing

Vacant properties to be returned ‘as social or affordable housing once refurbished’

Suspected drug dens in Limerick are being acquired by the local council to be refurbished into social and affordable homes.

Limerick City and County Council is acquiring the properties by compulsory purchase order and using legislation aimed at reducing the number of vacant properties.

A number of other vacant properties that were suspected to have been used to store drugs have either being demolished or acquired by the council.

Responding to questions, Limerick City and County Council said it had acquired a number of properties “through the Derelict Site’s Act, 1990″.


The council added it had formally taken possession of a property “with the help of An Garda Síochána”.

It said “no issues arose during the operation and gardaí will continue to monitor the property.

“Subject to a condition survey, to determine the structural soundness of the property, it is our intention to apply for regeneration funding to refurbish that property.”

The council said it had taken ownership of vacant properties “to return them as social or affordable housing once refurbished”.

Limerick Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan praised the council’s moves on the properties which he said “involved houses where known drug dealers were operating”.

“Some of these properties were secured with the support of by An Garda Síochána.”

He said local Garda operations, aimed at intercepting the wholesale distribution of drugs and activities of organised drug gangs in the midwest region, had managed to “close down” a property that was allegedly being used as a “crack supermarket”.

The Sinn Féin TD, who is also a director of the Mid West Drugs and Alcohol Taskforce, described the current drugs situation in Limerick as “dire”.

“That’s why we helped secured funding along with the Ana Liffey Drug Project in conjunction with the gardaí to fund a scheme that is to going to start in early April which will be dealing with the problem of crack cocaine in Limerick.”

From April, under the Law Engagement and Recovery project, Limerick gardaí will be able to make “health referrals” for people in addiction as part of a new “holistic approach” to policing a surge of crack cocaine use in the city.

A dedicated crack cocaine support service, run by the Ana Liffey Project in Limerick will also be funded under the initiative.

Ana Liffey provided around 9,000 sterile crack pipes in the midwest region between 2020-2022 to try to prevent cross-transmission of viruses and infections among crack users.

“There was twice as many crack pipes given out in Limerick than there was in Dublin last year so we do have massive ongoing problem with crack cocaine, on top of the issues we have with heroin and cocaine,” Mr Quinlivan said.

Thirteen vacant houses in one particular estate in the city, which sources said included properties that were used to store drugs, were demolished by Limerick City and County Council as part of a joint effort with gardaí to try to tackle drug supply lines in and out of the city.