herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Junkies' playground: Drug-users shoot up just yards from city centre primary school

These are shocking pictures which show drug addicts shooting up heroin in a historic Dublin city centre park - just yards from a busy primary school.

These scenes took place in St Audeon's Park on Cook Street yesterday where junkies openly injected in broad daylight in front of tourists and schoolchildren.

Yesterday morning the Herald witnessed 14 people injecting themselves with drugs between the hours of 8am and 10am.

This shockingly took place while tourists walked through the park and classes were being held in St Audeon's National School, just across the road.

Read More: Council worker Denis jabbed with dirty needle during park clean-up

Twenty freshly-used needles were later picked up from the grounds by park workers.

Drug-users were even seen undressing as they desperately tried to find veins to inject into.

One group of six people spent 25 minutes injecting themselves as locals walked through the park with their dogs.

During the two-hour period not one member of An Garda Siochana visited the park, which is known as an area of prolific drug use.

The drug addicts arrived with bags loaded with paraphernalia, including rolls of tinfoil, cotton wool, cleansing swabs and syringes.

They then helped each other to find veins in various parts of their bodies, like in the soles of their feet and in the groin area.

Often drug-users throw their dirty needles down on to Cook Street, which is only a few metres from the primary school.

In this park alone, almost 6,000 used needles and other drugs-related items were picked up by Dublin City Council (DCC) workers in 2014.

So far this year 413 dirty syringes have been lifted from the historic park.

Read More: 'We're afraid for our children'

Council workers last year picked up exactly 5,986 used needles in the 0.5 hectare park. Last year's figure reached its height in May when 1,289 needles were collected there.

The small park is also the location of Dublin's old city gates - a spot extremely popular with tourists who stop off there to take photographs.

Tony Duffin, director of the Ana Liffey Drug Project said the scenes in the park simply reflect the true level of public injecting in the capital.

risks

"There is no sensational headline needed for this story. What the Herald have begun to reveal is the sad truth of the significant level of public injecting in Dublin city centre and the significant risks that it poses to both the person engaged in the activity and the wider community.

"Ana Liffey Drug Project are committed to lobbying for the enactment of legislation that will allow for the provision of medically-supervised injecting centres over the coming months," Mr Duffin said.

The scenes follow a report in the Herald this week that almost 12,000 used needles had been collected from the city's streets by various groups last year.

DCC picked up 2,600 in the central area (Ballybough to Cabra), Dublin Town - which represents businesses in the capital - collected 7,000 used needles from Parnell Street down to St Stephen's Green and Ana Liffey lifted 2,000 syringes from in and around Middle Abbey Street.

When asked about yesterday's events, a spokeswoman for Dublin City Council said that any queries related to the use of illegal drugs should be referred to An Garda Siochana.

The Herald did not receive a response on the matter from the gardai at the time of going to print.

hnews@herald.ie

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