Drug problem is now “worse than ever” – Fr McVerry

Popular Irish TV drama accurately reflects Ireland’s violent underworld

Louise McCarthy

The violent home-produced drama Love/ Hate is an accurate portrayal of the drug problems in Dublin, according to a leading priest-campaigner.

Dublin based Fr Peter McVerry SJ told The Irish Catholic that the show, which attracted a record 1million RTÉ viewers on Sunday, was “very close to reality”. He also warned that the drugs problem in the capital was getting worse.

Viewers were glued to screens portraying an array of violence including a brutal rape in a jail shower, the torturing and killing of a woman as an example to garda informers and the shooting of the main character ‘Nidge’ in front of his young son.

“Most people watching Love/ Hate would not realise that this is reality. The drug problem is getting worse. It is not being taken seriously. The big drug dealers are as big a threat as the Provisional IRA were during the Troubles,” according to Fr McVerry.

He founded the Peter McVerry Trust in 1983 to assist drug abusers and homeless people in Dublin.


According to Fr McVerry, there are only 35 residential detox beds in Ireland to cater for an estimated 20,000 heroin users.

Fr McVerry is concerned that drug abusers are now taking much longer to detox because they are taking a cocktail of drugs including prescription valium, crystal meth and crack cocaine. Heroin, he said, was no longer a major drug in Dublin,

He said there was a “terrible lack” of treatment centres in Ireland for drug abusers, with people currently waiting up to nine months for admission. Fr McVerry said that drug misuse was now the “most serious” problem in Irish society.

“I don’t know what it is going to take to get Government attention. With crystal meth, the lows are like nothing experienced before and the users will do anything to get more. If all the victims of drug-related crimes were to march down O’Connell Street, it would go on for miles,” he said.