Mum's shock as son (7) picks up needles left by drug addicts
A mother has told of her horror after her seven-year-old son picked up several syringe needles near a flats complex in south inner-city Dublin.
Zoe Obeimhen Healy said she was horrified when her friend, who was minding her son Daniel, called her to tell her what had happened.
The needles were found on Bridgefoot Street, not far from a children's playground.
While there was a used needle among those left near Ms Obeimhen's flat on Oliver Bond Road, Daniel handled only the unused ones.
"I had to shout at him that they were dangerous and he was in shock for a little bit," she said. "The needles were close to where the children play.
"I stood there and warned the children to stay away and had to say that if they touched the needles it would kill them. "
Ms Obeimhen said cotton swabs and water to clean the needles were also among the drugs paraphernalia she found.
She said she called the Merchant Quay Ireland drugs project, which said they would include the flats in a sweep of the area.
The needles were left by people coming from outside to use drugs, the young mother added.
"There are no gates on the neighbourhood, so anyone can come in and out," she said.
"I just want my son and the children who live here to have a clean, safe space to play."
Ms Obeimhen said there was a great community spirit in the area and added that neighbours were always conscious of protecting local children from anything that drug-users might leave behind.
Dublin City Council said reports of discarded needles were responded to as quickly as possible.
"Any needles which are reported are safely removed and disposed of," said a spokesperson.
Other locals said that the increase in drug-users and paraphernalia are directly related to the homelessness crisis.
"I'd like to see those people given a home and given the help they need," said one woman, who asked not to be named.
"There are people using methadone and they're not a threat to anybody."
Five months ago, a three-year-old girl was pricked by a syringe needle, sparking increased calls for medically-supervised injection centres for addicts.
The incident happened when little Alysha Zambra got on a Dublin Bus with her mother, Stacie. The needle was down the side of her seat.
She was taken to Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin where she was tested for HIV and other infections.
Tony Duffin, of the Ana Liffey Drug Project, has said discarded used needles pose a "massive risk" to the public and has long campaigned for supervised injection centres.