An infamous drug dealer from North Belfast is again swamping the area with drugs.

And in a sinister twist scores of young people have become embroiled in his evil empire by getting drugs “on strap” and then being recruited to work for him when they can’t pay back the money.

Several groups that work with young people have joined forces this week to reveal the damage being inflicted on impressionable young people who fall foul of the drug lord and his close associates.

Community Restorative Justice (CRJ), Ardoyne Youth Club, Youth Congress and the Young People’s Providers Forum say they have been dealing with youngsters affected by the new drug recruitment drive that came to light this week.

And Fr Aidan Troy also confirmed the problems facing the young people could have an effect on efforts to stop suicide and self harm.

The dealer is a former associate of Paul Daly, a notorious dealer who was gunned down in Carrickhill in 2001.
Holy Cross rector Aidan Troy said he supported the efforts by the community to help troubled children and young people in an area blighted by self-harm and suicide.

“In trying to help to tackle things like s self-harm and suicide, if drugs are not tackled and this problem is not addressed the consequences are further deaths and suffering,” he warned.

Brendan Clarke of CRJ said all the groups had come across “half a dozen” young people in these circumstances in only the last few days.

“These are only the ones we’re aware of. Over the last few days we have been dealing with some young people who have ventured into alleged criminality. When we asked them why they told us they had got drugs on strap from this dealer. They are then recruited as drug dealers to pay off the debt. All the groups here had experiences of young people having to deal with these issues,” he said.

“We would ask anyone finding themselves in this situation to come forward to community representatives in strict confidentiality,” said Brendan Clarke.

Meanwhile Sinn Fein Councillor Carál Ní Chuilín has expressed her concern about issues raised in a leaflet that was posted to homes in the New Lodge area.

The leaflet highlights several people who are accused of drug dealing in the area and operating with loyalist paramilitaries.

“While we have to be careful about anonymous letters this leaflet raises concerns about alleged drug dealing in North Belfast,” Cllr Ní Chuilín said.

“Infiltration of drugs into any area is a worrying development and must be opposed but it is a particular worry in areas such as Carrick Hill and the New Lodge where there is a higher than average percentage of the population who are children.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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