A Phoney War Without End

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From top: A checkpoint in Dublin manned by the ERU (Garda Emergency Response Unit); Dr Julien Mercille

The response to the recent gangland killings reveals a complete lack of understanding of drugs and related crime.

Dr Julien Mercille writes:

The recent killings in Dublin involving drug gangs have received much media coverage. Yet, the reporting is so misleading that a few clarifications are in order.

The main reaction on the part of politicians and the media has been to blame Sinn Féin almost immediately, using the killings as a useful diversion from the issues that should dominate the electoral campaign.

Then, many calls were made to adopt a tough approach to drugs and gangs and to boost Garda resources, giving them more and better guns.

This reveals a complete lack of understanding of how to deal with the problem of drugs and related crime.

In particular, two effective solutions have received virtually no attention: (1) legalisation of drugs, and (2) reducing drug money laundering by American and European banks.

Making drugs illegal does not work and it increases violence. When drugs are illegal, drug dealers who disagree over unpaid debts or about how to divide neighbourhoods to sell their drugs will not ask the Garda or a judge to arbitrate, because they’ll be put in jail. So, they fight it out on their own with guns.

Neither is police enforcement very effective to deal with drugs, as research has shown again and again. This is because even if, say, police officers are able to arrest drug dealers, others will simply emerge to replace them, as long as there is a demand for drugs. If the police seize drug shipments, the drug lords will simply produce more and send more, as long as there is demand.

Therefore, the best way to reduce drug problems is to offer treatment services for addicts to reduce consumption. If there is no consumption, there is no market, and no gangs will ever emerge to sell drugs, and we can all say goodbye to the violence.

There is a well-known RAND study (a US-based think tank) that ranked four solutions to the drug problem in terms of their cost effectiveness. Treatment was the most effective, and the others came in as follows:

2nd: Police enforcement domestically: 7 times more costly than treatment

3rd: Interdiction at borders: 11 times more costly

4th: Overseas intervention: 23 times more costly

But under austerity, drugs programmes have been cut by 37%. Also, unemployment zoomed, leaving drug dealing as an attractive option for those living in communities where there are no good jobs.

Thus, giving more powerful guns to the Garda is not a good solution. Do we want to become like the US, where cops have become hyper-violent?

The Health Research Board did a study of the drug market in Ireland recently. The report confirmed the above. It examined Customs officials’ drug seizures, which numbered 1378 for the first half of 2009.

But 90% of those were either weed or hashish, and 90% were of less than 28 grams. Weed and hashish for personal use are not dangerous.

The report concludes with an indictment of police and customs enforcement, stating that:

“Our research showed no evidence that drug availability was affected for any significant period because of successful law enforcement.”

For those who worry that legalisation would lead to a massive growth of drug use, the experience from places that have liberalised their drug laws (for example, Portugal) shows that there may be small increases of consumption of some drugs (e.g., marijuana), but overall it’s absolutely not true that there is a massive rise in consumption. There’s an excellent report on Portugal’s experience here .

Also, big traffickers and producers would still remain illegal, and there wouldn’t be any advertising, and you could only buy drugs in specific stores. So there wouldn’t be packs of weed or heroin on sale on the shelves at Tesco or Spar.

As I wrote here a few weeks ago The benefits of legalising drugs can be summarised as follows:

1. It saves the State a lot of money because the police don’t have to run around the country arresting students smoking pot or heroin addicts who are homeless and simply have an addiction problem.

2. It generates taxes for the State because drugs is now a legal business, just like tobacco and alcohol. It doesn’t mean we think that drugs are healthy products, it just means that the industry becomes tightly regulated. It thereby generates tax revenues for the exchequer, which can be invested in treatment for addicts.

3. Violent crime decreases. When drugs are illegal, they generate violence.

4. Quality is much better: under a regulated system, the State can regulate the quality of the drugs, as it does for all foods and alcohol. Therefore, drugs become less dangerous.

5. Drug problems become public health issues, not criminal issues. This means that addicts are treated for their addiction instead of getting harassed by the police and arrested.

In addition to legalising drugs, governments should better regulate banks. According to the best estimates available, worldwide, about $220 billion of drug money is laundered annually through the financial system, which is dominated by Western banks.

However, only about 0.2% of all laundered criminal money is seized and frozen, as governments have other priorities than regulating the banking industry, which benefits from this extra liquidity.

A few years ago, the chief of the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime even lashed out at bankers’ habit of laundering drug money, declaring that “At a time of major bank failures, money doesn’t smell, bankers seem to believe

So we need to force banks to adopt better safeguards. By now we should all know that “light-touch” regulation of banks only leads to big problems, so why not regulate them forcefully for drugs as well as borrowing and lending?

Julien Mercille is a lecturer at University College Dublin. His book on drugs can be found here. Follow him on Twitter: @JulienMercille

116 thoughts on “A Phoney War Without End

    1. han solo's carbonite dream

      the problem is that at an international level – i’m not sure why – countries that legalise or decriminalise tend to get an earful off the USA .
      And there is one thing the thick paddy doesn’t want to do after bowing down to die Führerin and that is to crawl up the backside of the Americans.
      Never one to rock the boat are the irish politicians who still bow at the alter of JFK

      1. Martin

        most US states have already decriminalised marijuana in some form or other, so that doesn’t totally hold up really.

        Aodhan O’Riordain set out plans to decriminalise possession certain drugs last year, with a fine and medical consultation the “punishment”, so hopefully this will be the first step towards solving the issue.

        1. han solo's carbonite dream

          actually it proves my point precisely .
          up till recently all utterances of any decriminalization was met with a firm “no”.

          once the US softens it stace (very recently) we have had people like Leo and Aodhan pop up with “it mighnt be a bad thing”

          I dislike Aodhan as much as the next man – he is very unlikeable – but his drugs policy is decent if not going far enough

  1. Bobby

    Haha, one of the ways to help reduce consumption is by having legal, purer drugs. Yeah…”I preferred that gram I had last month that was cut to poo…not this rocket fuel super pure exquisiteness. I think I’ll knock it all on the head now”

    1. han solo's carbonite dream

      i for one would prefer purer drugs.
      the health benefits alone would worth the effort.
      you sir have taken an extreme minority view which is wrong.

      people rarely quit because of quality issues good or bad – they find a new dealer.
      nothing makes your dealer up his game than a regular going elsewhere.

      your point is nonesense.

      1. meadowlark

        I like to smoke weed. I don’t drink, I don’t enjoy it but of an evening or weekend I like the occasional joint. It relaxes me. I would rather be able to buy legally than having to get weed of an unknown origin and quality.

    2. Nigel

      Well there’s a choice. More people taking more drugs – legal, controlled, taxed drugs – or spectacular and horrific violence erupting every now and then, and ongoing horror and oppression in third world countries where the drugs are grown and processed. If you;re willing to put up with the latter to prevent the former – bot to also allow the existence of the current drug scene in all its glory – then you need your conscience recalibrated.

      1. cian

        Why do you think it will be more people taking more drugs?

        There may be more people taking drugs – because fewer will die from bad drugs.
        But individually they will probably consume less drugs since the quality can be controlled.

        1. Nigel

          Let’s just say we don’t know for sure one way or the other, but either result is better than the current stupidity.

    3. Lorcan Nagle

      A cousin of mine died because he took bad ecstasy. If he’d had access to pure drugs he may well still be alive today.

  2. Jonsmoke

    “weed and hashish for personal use are not dangerous”…..this is a very flippant comment and a lot of doctors, psychiatrists and addiction counsellors would disagree.

    1. 15 cents

      well its not addictive and its good for your health. it also keeps you looking young. and on top of everything else, its chill af.

      1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

        For some people. For some people it can trigger mental health problems and does seem to lead onto other harder drugs.

        I’m all for legalisation but you can’t willfully ignore the fact that drugs do cause harm – it should be about minimising that harm. And that includes alcohol.

        But not tobacco. That poo is nasty and if you smoke you are a fupping idiot.

        1. kittbag

          true.. and as a regular weed smoker, i can say that it is harmful in a way. for me personally it makes me lazier. after dinner, gym or whatever else im doin each evening, ill smoke n watch stuff. but ill cancel other things and not do things i wanna do like write a comic, visit friends/family, or go to a show and stuff, so that i can have my nightly smoke. its defo effected my relationships.. more than a few. i dont smoke it durin the day and i hold down a very good job. but i cant actually sleep without weed now. ive seen with some friends of mine, all theyll care about is smokin. they dont socialise any more or come on holidays, theyll stay in or even leave nights out to go home n smoke. and wont go on holidays coz they wont be able to get weed abroad. health wise, it defo makes you paranoid, lazy, and ya mix tobacco with it too, it also costs a lot to keep it up. i dont think we could legalise it in ireland, theres lots of people who might have a little pull on a J after a few beers, and they have a nice time, but if it was available to buy, they could try it more, at home and stuff, and then go down the spiral ive created for myself. and as a nation of excessive people, i think if it was legal it would effect a lot more people than it does now. as for harder drugs, decriminalising them has worked v well for portugal. waaaay less (related) crimes and deaths. but legalising weed in the states has worked out real well (for participating states), i think tho, us a type of people, couldnt be trusted with it if it was legal. it’d be a way more chill place tho.

          1. meadowlark

            That’s an interesting take on it. I never felt that way myself but I do know people who did. But I believe you’re absolutely right in that we, as a nation, struggle with moderation. Or perhaps how we see moderation in society, if that makes sense.

          2. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            It did for me too when I used it a lot.

            One of the arguments for legalisation is that it makes it easier for people to seek treatment where they are concerned about their use rather than concerned that they might get busted. So yes, maybe more people will try it (though some of the appeal has to be that it is illegal but not THAT bad) but they would, theoretically at least, have greater access to treatment.

            I’m not sure there is any evidence to really support it as a gateway drug, it’s more about it the circumstances of it being illegal so you have to go to dealers who tend to deal harder drugs so you give that a go and that’s how you get in.

    2. MoyestWithExcitement

      Cheeseburgers aren’t dangerous but plenty of doctors and psychiatrists will tell you about obese people gorging on them. There was nothing wrong with or flippant about Merceille’s statement.

  3. Harry Molloy

    In relation to Money Laundering in banks, focus AML (Anti Money Laundering) has increased exponentially in the last few years.

    When you get asked for a passport or proof of address, even though you have been a customer for years, that is for AML purposes. All customers must be identified and transactions are monitored for red flags, i.e. a farmer or plumber sending a 50k transaction to columbia to use an obvious example.

    Then there are the fines, HSBC getting $2bn a few years ago, one of the Swiss banks getting much much more.

    Central Banks all over the Western world have comprehnsive AML programmes and if a bank is found to be non-compliant then they lose their licence.

    Finally, if a regulated bank uses another bank for correspondent banking purposes, they must perform their own AML review of that bank – if it is discovered that a banks correspondent bank, or even a correspondent of that correspondent bank and so on down the chain, is facilitating money laundering they all banks within the chain are liable.

    Finally, ignorance is no excuse, as was the case in HSBC. It is not enough that you don;t actively engage in money laundering, but if your safe guards are not up to scratch then you will also be liable.

    Of course the unintended consequence of this is that Money Laundering has moved from the large European and US banks to alternative methods, e.g. Crypto currency, gambling sites etc, but the fact is that there has been a massive massive global effort throughout the banking system to ensure the traditional channels do not facilitate money laundering efforts.

    I know this as I and hundreds of others in Dublin alone work, or have worked, in AML. So I wonder how many years ago that quote from the article was?

    1. f_lawless

      I have to take you up on some of your assertions there.
      Firstly when you say “Then there are the fines, HSBC getting $2bn a few years ago, one of the Swiss banks getting much much more.” what Swiss bank are you referring to? I wasn’t able to find any reference to a Swiss bank being fined for money laundering or any bank being fined over $2bn for that mattter.
      Secondly, in relative terms, $2bn (or in fact $1.9bn but what’s a $100m here or there!) is just a slap on the wrist for the likes of a bank the size of HSBC. It’s estimated to be no more than about five weeks of income for them.
      Remember, the bank was never formerly charged with any crime. Not one banker prosecuted. Instead, some were ordered to partially defer their bonuses over a 5 year period!
      These bankers are not ignorant of what’s going on as you say but rather know that they’re unlikely to face real justice and so can act with impunity.
      I’ve worked before in a large bank and got the distinct impression that while processes and procedures were strictly adhered to for the little guy, at the higher level it’s still the Wild West out there.
      http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/outrageous-hsbc-settlement-proves-the-drug-war-is-a-joke-20121213

      1. Harry Molloy

        BNP Paribas fine almost $9 bn, for a variety of issues but the major one being sanctions violations – which is usually group together with AML and CTF http://www.reuters.com/article/us-bnp-paribas-settlement-sentencing-idUSKBN0NM41K20150501

        Regarding HSBCs $2bn, it didn’t send them broke but if you think it didn’t hurt a lot you’re mad. These banks are PLCs with responsibilities to their shareholders, such a large fine takes money straight out of their pockets and also the share prices nose dives. The purpose of a fine isn’t to effectively destroy a bank, but to hurt it enough that it won’t happen again.

        You’re right about the jailings, but I think credit needs to be given for the massive culture change that happened in a relatively short space of time, i.e. since 9/11. Banks now know it is not enough to turn a blind eye and I think that jailings will follow.

        And my experience working in AML, after years of client screening, due diligence, shareholder screening, director screening, transaction monitoring etc – is that I never saw anything too interesting. And that is because the safeguards are an effective deterrent.

        Problem is that the ML heads elsewhere. At least when it was in banking it had the potential to be monitored closely, now the problem is where the hell it is happening.

        1. f_lawless

          Again, I’m not sure why you would believe there has been a massive change in banking culture since 2001 or that the jailing of bankers is sure to follow. Nothing has changed this century regarding the “too big to fail” structure of these mega banks.The US Justice Dept. actually actively shielded HSBC or anyone working for it from any criminal prosecutions because they believed the knock on effect would be for HSBC to lose its banking licence in the US and that kind of damage to the bank could destabilise the whole global banking system.
          Put in that context, the $2bn fine does amount to a “slap on the wrist” for the bank. (I’m quoting respected financial journalist, Matt Taibbi there by the way) and why would those high stakes bankers be moved to change the culture in which they operate when they know they can act with relative impunity?
          Even less than a year ago (as reported in the Guardian), senior HSBC executive, Lee Hale, “privately admitted that the bank is ‘cast-iron certain’ to have another major regulatory breach in the future, and is struggling on multiple fronts to clean up its worldwide operations” so, forgive me for not being convinced by your assertions !
          http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/02/hsbc-cast-iron-certain-breach-rules-executive

  4. Tish Mahorey

    Operation Gladio.

    Look it up folks.

    A lot of academics of History and Politics look on these latest shootings with an eye towards the Army and Government, not the gangs. A bit of gang warfare with a fake claim by the CIRA plays into the hands of Fine Gael as they mud sling Sinn Fein, as if they have something to with this. This despite the fact that the CIRA threaten members of Sinn Fein regularly for entering the Good Friday Agreement.

    The modus operandi of these shootings is not typical of so-called gang warfare. There is reason to believe something else is at play. And the timing of these shootings is highly suspicious with a general election imminent.

    There are a lot of groups who opposed a Left leaning government. They include the ECB, Fine Gael and their EPP partners in Europe who are centre-right in ideology. Also, the USA don’t want any more left leaning governments in Europe.

    So look again and ask yourselves, who is REALLY behind these shootings and take note of whether or not they continue after the General Election.

    And don’t believe anything you read in main stream media.

    1. Steve

      Except that there are centre left governments in place in Sweden, France , Italy , Austria , I could keep going.

      In fairness, mercille is wrong. FG never blamed SF for the killings. I think the “mainstream and the media” (watch those tin foil hats) are right to question SF’s position on the SCC , in light of these killings.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        Sorry, you’re wrong. The killings have nothing to do with SF. Linking them with them is clearly a political move. You must be very naive not to see that.

      2. Tish Mahorey

        ” FG never blamed SF for the killings”

        Enda Kenny made a total idiot of himself by calling on Adams to say whether not the AK-47s (they weren’t AK-47s) were part of an IRA arsenal decommissioned as part of the Good Friday Agreement.

        What a stupid thing to say. Attempting to associate Sinn Fein with a false CIRA claim. It’s all smear by association with no evidence, not even a likely scenario.

        Lunacy and desperation. And your ‘tin foil’ comment is typical of those who resort to ridicule when they have no answer.

    2. fluffybiscuits

      Whilst I would not go as indept in to believe as much as that you still hit a point that is worth discussing. The mud slinging at SF is what FG do best. A diversion from the status quo lets us see how inept FG are. Enda made a show of himself on the leaders debate the other night.

        1. meadowlark

          Me too. There was an article on Buzzfeed about the gang killings and it referenced Enda attempting to turn it onto Sinn Fein.

          “This week, Irish prime minister Enda Kenny challenged Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams to confirm whether the guns used in the Regency attack were the same as or similar to ones used by the IRA during the Troubles.

          Kenny told a press conference: “I’m interested to hear the media comment that the AK-47s may well be very similar if not the same cargo that came in from abroad with the Provisional IRA a number of years ago.

          “If there is any connection between this sort of dissident, criminal, and gangland republicanism or anything else. It makes utter hypocrisy of the statements being made of the Sinn Féin president.” ”

          Not the most highbrow sample but the one I could find fastest. My reading of it was that Enda was attempting to use this against SF during this election period.

          1. meadowlark

            Sorry, I meant to mention that this is in international media, as opposed to domestic DOB-sponsored media.

          2. Deluded

            I would be interested to see if it was an Irish contributor to Buzzfeed – I haven’t found much external analysis of the matter beyond the usual tabloids tabloiding.

      1. Tish Mahorey

        Read more books.

        Apart from anything, your grammar will improve to the point where your comment would have read: “I think I saw a Big Foot earlier”.

    3. Declan

      I thought Operation Gladio was a NATO stay behind operation in Italy which became full of ex-fascists.

      What’s that got to do with this? Have you been having some of Juliens illegal yokes

      1. Tish Mahorey

        Yes it was but it expanded beyond that into a much wider European operation to undermine a threat of leftist government from within Europe. ‘Gladio’ is a general term for it.

        It’s goal is to create a state of continued threat and fear which results in Governments spending more on arms and security and the undermining of civil rights of the citizen.

        It’s about control.

        1. Declan

          You do realise that Sinn Fein is about as leftist as the Blairite’s. Sure they talk about it but at heart they’re uber pragmatic. Look at what has happened in the North. They’re happily co-existing with right ring unionists.

          1. Tish Mahorey

            This constant reference and comparison to SF in the north is pointless. It’s en entirely different political landscape there. It’s essential that SF and DUP can work together and embed the peace process.

            True to say that SF are not hard left, more centre left. But that’s enough for the Fine Gaelers and their international backers to get upset.

          2. Rob_G

            Tish is right, Declan; you are completely misunderstanding the issue. SF are completely ideologically opposed to both property taxes and water charges, so much so that they are their ‘red-line’ issue*

            *except in Northern Ireland, where they support them

          3. Kieran NYC

            Tish is right. Paying attention to the only government SF are actually a part of is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT

            Don’t focus on who Gerry *did* kill. Think of all the people he didn’t!!

  5. Eoin

    Criminal charges for any banking staff involved in drug money laundering, not fines for the banks. That and decriminalization combined are the ONLY solutions.

  6. Declan

    Even when he sort of talks sense I can’t help myself but be annoyed by him. Also his writing style, it’s a bit secondary school CPSE (admittedly on the honours level)

  7. John

    While its nice to look at other countries and say “Look it works nicely in The Nettherlands and Portugal”, one must not forget that this is Ireland.
    Irish people in general (like the UK) have a very poor record of managing consumption of legal drugs.
    One has to look no further than Alcohol and Tobacco to see the Irish attutude to drugs. While the argument that the regulation will make it safer due to the conrol of the quality of the drugs is very compelling, the argument of increased tax revenue paying for treatment services is less so.
    The state revenue derived from the sale of legal drugs in Ireland does not offset the financial cost of medical and support services and the social cost is even greater.
    Joe McKeever (A&E consultant) was on Marian finucanes radio show yesterday saying that more than half of all admissions through A&E are alcohol related!

    So rather than pointing at success stories in other countries for drug legalisation we need to point at the abject failure of our own drug legalisation and try and address the social issues that contribute to the appaling immature attiude of Irish people to controlled substances.

    1. Tony

      This idea thats its social issues is a load of poo. People take drugs because they like them. Happy, successful, driven responsible people. They should be allowed do so. Over use, like alcohilism, obesity etc is another story.

      1. han solo's carbonite dream

        too true , I find it upset (beyond the drugs issue) that people tend to ban or strictly regulate things because of problem cases who probably make up a tiny percentage of people.
        sure people drink to excess but how many of them end up in hosiptal/jail or john of gods.
        very few when you consider the numbers that like a pint.

        same with drugs and kebabs.

        1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          “sure people drink to excess but how many of them end up in hosiptal/jail or john of gods.”

          Ah come on. How many police and ambulance and hospital staff are dealing with people on a Sat night who went out and couldn’t handle their drink? Yes, some people can go out and drink and enjoy it but naive to claim that its just a few ruining it for every one else. See link (old but first one I found).

          http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/Publications/topics/alcohol/Costs%20to%20Society%20of%20Problem%20Alcohol%20Use%20in%20Ireland.pdf

          If you want a grown-up approach to drug legislation, you need to be grown-up on both sides – admit that they are fun and that’s why people do them but also admit they cause harm and try and reduce that harm because people are frankly idiots, myself included.

          1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            Thankfully you never met me when I was drinking loads…. Queen of the idiots…

    2. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      Or look at the former as a way of addressed the latter. There’s no point writing something off simply because it worked somewhere else.

    1. Paul

      You are too generous. It reads like a Junior Cert essay . What a great little country for bluffers . Bienvenue

  8. brownbull

    If Julien really supports reform of drug laws why does he support Sinn Fein? Light a spliff and walk down the main street in Crossmaglen and see what happens to you.

  9. Tony

    After billions of dollars and 30 years of effort the war on drugs has failed. Its never been more widespread, cheaper or in more demand. Time to decriminalise in most cases and legalise for weed and hash. Its what people do. And wait until the data on recent ketamine tests becomes mainstream- psychologists are calling it the new wonder drug.

  10. Deluded

    Although there were some restrictions and local laws regarding marijuana and hemp, United States policy and by extension that of many trading partners was derived from or reinforced by the work of Harry J Anslinger.
    “Prior to the end of alcohol prohibition, Anslinger had claimed that cannabis was not a problem, did not harm people, and “there is no more absurd fallacy” than the idea it makes people violent. His critics argue he shifted not due to objective evidence but due to the obsolescence of the Department of Prohibition he headed when alcohol prohibition ceased – seeking a new Prohibition. “

  11. Pardon

    “The main reaction on the part of politicians and the media has been to blame Sinn Féin almost immediately, using the killings as a useful diversion from the issues that should dominate the electoral campaign.”

    That isn’t true. Continuity IRA admitted their involvement and this is the line of inquiry that was then followed. The media were initially pointing fingers at da foreigners.
    Oh, what a tangled web we weave. When first we practise to deceive….

    1. meadowlark

      The Continuity IRA (CIRA) apparently claimed credit for the Regency shooting in a widely publicised message sent to a BBC journalist in Belfast on Monday. The statement said the killing of Byrne was in retaliation for the murder of Alan Ryan in 2012, a leading member of the Real IRA. The statement claimed that further attacks should be expected.

      However, another statement sent later that day to the Irish Mirror said the earlier claim was false and made clear the group had “absolutely no involvement in criminal feuds”.

      This is from a Buzzfeed News article on the subject.

    2. Tish Mahorey

      That was a fake claim.

      The CIRA denied any involvement in it. So the question remains, who really made that call and why would they do it?

      Fine Gael constantly use the past (while ignoring the Good Friday Agreement) to undermine the legitimate Sinn Fein mandate. But all it does is increase support for SF because everyone can see right through it.

  12. Rob_G

    “Thus, giving more powerful guns to the Garda is not a good solution. Do we want to become like the US, where cops have become hyper-violent?”

    Given that two Gardaí have been murdered in the past couple of years, and that there are criminals brazen enough to murder people with semi-automatic weapons in broad daylight at a venue with loads of innocent bystanders around, I would think that we should listen to the Gardaí if they say they need better weapons.

    That being said, I’m not that surprised that a supporter of Sinn Féin is once again seeking to undermine the legitimacy of policing and the judiciary in this country.

    1. Cromuel

      The Gardaí dealt with far more heavily armed and dangerous people in the 1960s without any guns. Police who need guns are a bunch of big fat wimps.

      1. Declan

        The guards were able to call on the Army and had armed detective units. But if we call on the army is that “militarising” the police???

  13. Tish Mahorey

    And RTE and the Indo choose to completely ignore the fact that all their chums hoover coke up their greedy noses every weekend in their favourite bars and restaurants, all supplied by the very same dealers who are killing each other over who supplies it.

    The professional classes are complicit in these murders and it’s about time they stopped pretending it’s nothing to do with them.

    1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      This is a good point. The additional issue with cocaine is it’s links to environmental degradation, people trafficking and extremely violent crime in developing countries which these same people protest and tut about.

      Not to mention the fact that what you are putting up your nose was just up someone’s butt. Ew.

    2. meadowlark

      You’ll appreciate this:
      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/09/dublin-gang-wars-council-advises-flats-residents-move-out-safety

      “Councillor Mannix Flynn described his native Dublin on Tuesday evening as a “city under siege where a great evil is amongst us”.

      Flynn said the eruption of the north-south Dublin gangland war had been inevitable because the Irish state and society had tolerated the existence of the gangs and the drugs trade for so long.

      “Firstly, I blame the glamorisation of these criminal gangs, the way they are given nicknames in the media and are portrayed as celebrities. This has created a culture of admiration among young working-class men in particular who, wrongly, look up to these gangland figures as heroes.

      “Second, the Dublin middle classes are to blame, especially those who snort their cocaine in their nightclubs, their golf clubs, their rugby clubs or at home among their friends. They are bigger consumers of drugs than the working class and the real ones fuelling the wealth of these career criminals, enriching these gangs.””

  14. SB

    Getting rid of the €500 note, as is being mooted at the moment, would be beneficial too. Perhaps also the €100 one? It’d be much more difficult to shift/hide the moolah if the banks are asking more questions too.

  15. poostandards

    ” When drugs are illegal, drug dealers who disagree over unpaid debts or about how to divide neighbourhoods to sell their drugs will not ask the Garda or a judge to arbitrate, because they’ll be put in jail. So, they fight it out on their own with guns.”

    How the fupp does this dude manage to get on TV and radio and a lecturing position in UCD? If you can’t judge what is an acceptable standard of journalism / teaching , then maybe you need to question your intellect and your capacity to do your job. This is a call out to the Dean of UCD and Sunday Business Post editor.

    1. Tish Mahorey

      Why don’t you just tell them at the next Arthur Cox/KPMG/Deloitte etc Breakfast Briefing in the Shelbourne?

  16. poostandards

    Or you could just whisper those words in the ear of Mercille next time you see him? Save me the bother of stating the obvious . Thanks Tish

  17. whatthefupp

    Dear Dermot Lacey. Can you please share your thoughts with us on Julien’s juvenile jingle ?

    Thank you.

  18. J

    “Thus, giving more powerful guns to the Garda is not a good solution. Do we want to become like the US, where cops have become hyper-violent?”

    More leapfrogging from Monday’s child .

    1. Neilo

      Better surely for the criminals to become even more hyper-violent. Not the sharpest pencil in the case but then neither am I.

    2. Termagant

      I, for one, welcome an escalation in the standard armament of guards and criminals alike to what could be termed Batmanly levels of elaborate weaponry.

        1. Lorcan Nagle

          Depends on the Batman. The original character frequently carried a pair of pistols, and the batplane had a machine gun mounted on it, which persisted even after the no-killing thing got added to Batman’s character. In the 80’s, there’s a scene in The Dark Knight Returns where an elderly Batman fires into a crowd of criminals with his internal monologue saying “Rubber bullets. Honest” (clearly meant to leave the reader asking if he’s being sincere). A cover for the current Dark Knight III series (a sequel to Dark Knight Returns) features Batman blazing away with an M60 machine gun

          In the movies, the Batmobile in Tim Burton’s first Batman movie uses guns and deploys a bomb in one scene, and the Batwing similarly carries guns. The Batpod in The Dark Knight features some sort of grenade or micro-missile launcher, which Batman uses to destroy parked cars in order to clear a path while chasing the Joker.

  19. Herbert

    Portugal never legalised drugs, they only decriminalized. People in charge of Portuguese drug policy have referred to it as a failure at achieving its aims. As it is addicts are given light or no sentences so you could argue we have de facto decriminalization already.

    1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      Really? Because the evaluations of drug courts have been largely positive over a range of outcomes. Would love to see a report of what you are saying?

      1. Herbert

        Dr Manuel Pinto Coelho, President of the Association for a Drug Free Portugal has notable criticized it. One of the difficulties in these debates is that people share different views on what should be the goal. Many drug reform advocates are happy for consumption to rise despite health risks.

  20. J

    “But 90% of those were either weed or hashish, and 90% were of less than 28 grams. Weed and hashish for personal use are not dangerous.” Is this Merciless fact or opinion ? There are many possible immediate and long term risks of using marijuana . Below is a list for Mercille to digest :

    •Increased heart rate
    •Bloodshot eyes
    •Dizziness
    •Impaired concentration and memory
    •Slower reaction times
    •Negative drug-to-drug interactions
    •Addiction, which occurs in about 10 percent of users who start smoking before age 25
    •Withdrawal symptoms
    •Mental illness in people with a tendency toward it
    •Increased risk of heart attack or stroke
    •Breathing problems, for people who smoke marijuana

    1. Cup of tea anyone?

      You could change marijuana to alcohol in that and it would be exactly the same.

      But I think you are missing the point. If alcohol was made illegal tomorrow, people would still drink it. It would be made in sheds and brought in illegally. There would be no quality control that they have now, and the imported stuff would be cut with god knows what by those who bring it in to sell to the alcoholics so they can make a bigger profit. The poitin made in baths around the country would strip pain and obliterate your liver. and the gangs who control the flow of beer would get rich.

      And people would say it should make it legal and you would paste that exact comment in.

    2. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      Citation needed for some of those

      And slower reaction times are hardly a problem if all you are doing is eating 9 packets of Doritos

      1. Cup of tea anyone?

        Ever play COD against those lads who spend all day sitting at home smoking and eating cheesey poofs? nothing wrong with their reaction times

    1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      Selective interpretation there J – nothing on withdrawal that I can see? – but I think the majority of people agree that it was a silly thing to claim and just wrong

  21. Truth in the News

    Register drug users, legalise their use, the gang warfare will soon cease
    as to patolling the streets forget it, this will not prevent drug use, in fact
    its allowwing a sense of security and protection to criminal gangs
    The turning of the Gardai into a glorofied “Blueshirt Militia” is a disgrace
    and sooner or later there will be a mistake with disastraus consequences.

  22. Peter Dempsey

    Banks have stepped up their AML procedures. That doesn’t fit Julien’s narrative so he has a go at them. His thinly-veiled contempt for the world of financial services, estate agents etc is infantile. He probably thinks anybody who wears a suit is a “corporate monkey”.

  23. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    I got deja vú reading this.
    -Didn’t I say this (except for the bit about the banks) in about two or three sentences last week? Maybe the week before?

    -Was that on a different site?

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