herald

Friday 18 August 2017

Park 'ruined by drug-users' set to re-open next year

DUBLIN'S Croppies Acre park, a memorial ground dedicated to Irish patriots, will not be re-opened until at least next year.

Campaigners have been pushing for the re-opening since it was closed in 2012, only a year after tens of thousands of euro of public money was poured into upgrading it.

The park became a no-go area because authorities could not cope with drug users and the number of used syringes that litter the site.

Now the city council has confirmed it will not reopen until next year at the earliest.

heritage

The news comes as advocates have asked for the site - where Matthew Tone, the brother of United Irishmen founder Wolfe Tone is buried - to be declared a national heritage site.

In a report, the council said that in June last year it entered into a maintenance arrangement with the Office of Public Works (OPW) for the site.

"Since that time the park has been maintained on a weekly basis, the grass is cut, litter picked up, weeds treated and the trees/shrubs pruned when necessary," the council said.

However, it added that the park could not be re-opened to the public until "the issue regarding accessibility is addressed".

This would involve the upgrading of the existing access gates and a new footpath.

"The proposed upgrade work is currently being discussed with the Office of Public Works with a view to opening the park to the public in 2015," it said.

The council's Central Area Committee and Lord Mayor Christy Burke this week supported a motion to write to the Department of Heritage, urging the minister to make the park a national heritage site.

Some €35,000 was spent overhauling the site in September 2011.

The work included making it the new home of the Anna Livia sculpture, known locally as the Floozie in the Jacuzzi.

But the OPW later said it had been forced to permanently padlock the gates because of public health concerns.

"Specialist cleaners are employed to remove hazardous material such as used syringes," an OPW spokeswoman said last year.

"However, as resources are not sufficient to keep the park clear of dangerous materials at all times and thus safe for public access, the park has had to be closed to the public."

Anti-social behaviour was also threatening public safety.

drinkers

Drug-users and street drinkers scaled the walls of the park, near Heuston Station, which has for some time been strewn with used syringes and hypodermic needles, broken glass, beer cans, wine cartons and old clothes.

The park, which lies between Wolfe Tone Quay and the National Museum at Collins Barracks, was a mass grave for "croppies" after the United Irishmen rebellion.

The rebels were so-called because of their cropped hair, cut in the style of French revolutionaries who opposed the aristocrats who were conspicuous by their lavish wigs and costumes.

hnews@herald.ie

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