Addicts 'driving shoppers from centre of town'
Traders in Dun Laoghaire say that customers are being "driven away" by the methadone clinic in the town centre.
Peter Kerrigan, the chairperson of the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Ratepayers Association said: "Every week, there is shouting and roaring up and down the town. Older people won't come to the area."
Mr Kerrigan was among the large numbers who attended a meeting, sponsored by the association, at the Royal Marine Hotel last night.
The meeting heard that 104 people are attending the clinic for treatment. Mr Kerrigan said that the HSE clinic offering methadone has been on Patrick Street since 1996.
Local businesswoman Rita O'Brien told the Herald: "I want to stress, of course, we are not against addicts getting treatment. It is very important."
But she said that they wanted a discussion with the HSE about why the clinic has to be in the centre of town.
The debate on the clinic heard from one woman based on Patrick Street who said that: "I hear them screaming and shouting every day." She said she had seen addicts inserting drugs "into their back passage".
A letter was read out at the meeting by Rita O'Brien from local resident John Costigan, in which he said that: "The scruffy, unruly and occasionally violent element that the drugs clinic attracts into the town centre deters many potential shoppers from choosing Dun Laoghaire."
The Ratepayers Association has written to local TDs and councillors in the past week, with 17 questions about the clinic.
Meanwhile, there was also a show of strength at the meeting, as the town's campaign to retain its courthouse moved up a gear.
As part of its rationalisation plans, the courts service has proposed shutting courthouses in Tallaght, Dun Laoghaire, Swords and Balbriggan.
Local Fianna Fail councillor Mary Hanafin said the district court was important in linking the local judge with the local community, gardai and probation services.