People coming down steep stairs

Mark Colvin: I can't tell you where I met these people - because I don't know myself.  But I do know that the city where these hooded Irish vigilantes work is not - as you might expect - Belfast - it's Dublin.




Balaclava men, loading guns

The group is called Tallagh against Drug Dealers, TADD for short.  shrouded in paramilitary secrecy, they've never appeared on television before.  For some reason, they decided to talk to the ABC - to explain their decision to punish drug dealing with death.





Man in balaclava speaking



Actor's Voice

TADD Spokesman:  They'll never cure the problem.  They can't cure the problem.  The only problem.  The only way to cure the problem of drug dealing is to kill a dealer.  That is the only way to stop a dealer selling.





Man loading rifle, interview continues with man

Colvin:  Operating from the outer Dublin suburb of Tallagh, TADD say that they've killed already.






Colvin:  You have carried out actions which resulted in the death of drug dealers?






TADD Spokesman:  That's correct, yeah.






Colvin:  In Tallagh?






TADD Spokesman:  Not necessarily in Tallagh but they were Tallagh related.  We don't only operate in Tallagh.  The dealer selling in Tallagh from another area, we'll follow that person no matter where - in the north, south, anywhere, it doesn't matter, we'll go after him s long as he sells in Tallagh, he's a target for TADD.





Crowds of people



on street,



musicians playing, people watching, people walking along

Colvin:  Neglect is a word that crops up again and again among people who know Ireland's drug history.  On the surface, it's hard to understand in tourist friendly Dublin where a staggering 7% of growth has people calling Ireland Europe's new Tiger Economy.






The problem is that big sections of the population have missed out on the bonanza.





Tracking shotsm reddish tinge to footage, people on streets, night time

Colvin:  This is what it's like.  Two decades ago, Bob Geldof, then a little-known Dublin punk, wrote a song about the area called 'Rat-trap'.  The trap is still there.





People and kids in block of flats

Colvin:  After two decades of neglect, the St Joseph's flats are at the heart of the rat-trap.





Intv with Noel

Noel:  There's no hope in this flat whatsoever.  As I said, there's about 38 tenants in this flat and I'd say out of 38, you'd have 28 drug dealers in the flats.  Every second person in these flats are dealing in drugs.





Tracking shot from car, O'Druscoll driving and speaking

Colvin:  Sergeant John O'Druscoll runs the drug squad in the inner city.  Drug dealing is still rampant.






O'Druscoll:  There would be a number of addicts living in these flats and there have been reports of a number of people selling within the complex.






Colvin:  Do you feel that you are making an impression on the problem in a place like this?






O'Druscoll:  Yes, what we have tried to do in the particular drug unit that I'm attached to is to get involved with the community and to build up contacts with them. 






And as a result of that we have tried to address the problem as it is perceived from the community rather than trying to judge it ourselves and maybe achieving successes which wouldn't really have a real impact on the problem on the ground.







Tracking shot from car, people on streets

Sergeant O'Driscoll is a thoughtful and caring policeman but he has a force of only fourteen, spread round the clock seven days a week, to deal with what amounts to a drugs plague.






Almost as if to emphasise the lack of resources, he drove us past a man he identified as the Monk - in the white shirt - a notorious gangland boss - doing business openly on the street.  It's close to anarchy.






As Dublin's Docklands died so unemployment rose in the inner city. It's 80% in the most affected areas now.





Intv with Liz Allen

Liz Allen:  You're looking at entire communities, communities which effectively have been obliterated.  The young people of these communities most of them are drug addicts, and if they are not drug addicts then they know someone who is.





City landscape, houses, kids on horse, in cart, playing, demonstration

Colvin:  One solution was to move people out of the inner city - to estates in Dublin's outskirts.  Without jobs, the effect was just to relocate the drug problem.












Colvin:  Out on the sprawling, impoverished estates like Tallagh, the people are getting angry.  They are starting to take things in to their own hands.












Colvin:  Marches like this regularly picket the houses of suspected drug dealers.












Colvin:  Their influence is being felt.  James who said he'd given up dealing hash, came up to us to complain that he was still being victimised.





Intv with James

James:  Me ma was on them huts over there and she was thrown off because I was selling hash.  I explained the situation already that there's no hash being sold out of my house for seven weeks.






Colvin:  So you were a dealer, but you say you're not anymore?






James:  No, I'm not anymore.






Colvin:  So what do you think of them?






James:  What do I think of them, well I won't give you my honest opinion.






Colvin:  Do give me your honest opinion.






James:  Well, I think they're being silly, they're here to get heroin out of the area and they're here because I'm selling hash seven weeks ago.





Demonstration with signs, people watching, intv with one of marchers

Colvin:  This is an atmosphere that's ripe for vigilante action.  All on this march claimed they'd not go beyond peaceful means in hounding dealers.  Tommy Whelan's a serving soldier who lives on the estate.






Tommy:  On this march here now, we're letting the people that are pushin' drugs in the area know that they are not wanted in this area.  That the people livin' here don't want them in their midst. 






And the best thing for them to do is leave the area peacefully.  It's a peaceful march and we're just goin' to let them know that they're not wanted here.





People in florescent jackets, Tommy speaking on walkie talkie, showing

Colvin:  Also peaceful in it's aims, Tommy's community patrol.  It's effectively become a parallel police force for the estate.


Colvin bottle




Tommy:  Ah Roger there's some bogeys gone through Bravo there, are in that area over?






Man:  No we're down at F104, there's a couple of bogeys sitting down here on the wall scratching his friends, we're watching them at the moment.






Tommy:  Okay we'll deal with the other situation ourselves.  Over.






Tommy:  This is physeptone, okay, it's a heroin substitute, get's you off heroin ...






Colvin:  They discover methadone in the back yard of a woman who has been repeatedly invaded by addicts.  The woman agreed to talk as long as we didn't show her face.





Windows with paint on them, rubbish in yard, people in jackets walking along, intv with Tommy

Woman:  They just used it as thought, it was though they owned the place.  It was just simply a case of I didn't exist.  And they just paraded in and out there when they felt like it. 






As you see it's full of rubbish which isn't mine.  I've tried cleaning it up a number of times and it just keeps getting worse.






Colvin:  It's clearly not enough to rely on the Irish police - the Gardai.






Tommy:  Another way of looking at it is if the Gardai were being effective in the area, we wouldn't be needed here.  It wouldn't be necessary for us to be out on the streets.  I would rather be with my family at this point but I think it's necessary for us to be here.





Packs of cannibis, police showing drugs

Colvin:  Ireland's Gardai are always keen to show off a haul of smuggled cannabis but is it enough?  I wanted to ask if they'd failed on the streets.  If the killing of a top journalist indicated their failure to combat major crime?  If vigilantes were taking over?






All questions that get the same stone wall treatment from Dublin's top police detective.





Intv with Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Hickey

Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Hickey:  I don't accept that we have lost control.  I don't accept that at all about people who are untouchable.  I don't accept that it is out of control.  I don't accept that at all.





Night time in front of fire, Colvin speaking with Helena Mullan and two other women

Colvin:  Down on the estates, at the huts that local women run as part of their community anti-drug scheme, their patience with the authorities has run out.






Helena Mullan:  The government?  Sure, what do they want to do?  They want to sit back in their offices and pretend that everything is fine.  Up until six months ago, we were told that Brookfield hadn't got a drug problem.  Hadn't got! 






And the crimes that were happening in this area were related to drugs.  So how they can sit back in their police station and say that there's not a drug problem just goes beyond me.






Woman 1: We're trying to help ourselves. And by rights the government should be doing that for us. And regards the  policing -  we are doing their job for them.






Woman 2:  Whoever is out there, that would see or hear this program please girls or boys don't even attempt it.  Don't bring this pain and sorrow on your selves and your family, don't do it, it's not worth it.






Helena:  This is what happens.  This is what you see now. this is one of so many.  Greedy men bringin' drugs into a poverty stricken area and then sick, sick, they should be lined up and shot dead, sick, sick people.





Men with balaclavas on, one speaking, gun pointed at camera

TADD Spokesperson:  Why should women and children have to march around at night standing' outside peoples' doors.  That's the police job.






Police should be goin' in, they should be takin' in people out of there.  We know they're selling drugs, they know they are selling drugs, they turn a blind eye, we don't.






Colvin:  Nature they say, abhors a vacuum.  The neglect of 20 years has left Dublin vulnerable, first to drugs, and now to the men who fight them.






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