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Violence in car park and drug-dealing ... at children's hospital

ONE of the country's top children's hospitals has insisted that crime there is under control, despite an internal report showing an increase in criminal activity last year.

A report from Our Lady's Children Hospital in Crumlin revealed suspected drug dealing, outbreaks of violence and aggression at the hospital and the theft of a donations box.

A total of 110 crimes were reported in the first nine months of 2010, a slight increase on the previous year.

However, a spokesperson insisted that security was of the highest standard, adding that many of the incidents were of a minor nature.

Among the crimes were two incidents of suspected drug dealing at the rear of the hospital.

The spokesperson said: "Where we work, you will have issues. The hospital can be seen as quiet or having no gardai around. In these cases, they were caught on CCTV, security did their job and the gardai did theirs." In total 25 incidents of violence and aggression at the hospital were also recorded.

"The violence and aggression recorded was, in the main, verbal and related to the car park. We have issues with car parking here and 90pc of these cases were related to the car park."

In the case of the stolen collection box, the hospital added; "The Church collection box was taken. The box and all the money was recovered because of CCTV."

Councillor Ruairi McGinley, who is a board member at the hospital, said that the report would be reviewed and if necessary a review of security levels would be carried out.



UPSETTING

"We are looking after children who are very ill and parents who are very concerned. They have enough to be getting on with without that type of thing," said Cllr McGinley.

"It has not come up at board level in the recent past. If we need to review our security levels we will do so. It's upsetting undoubtedly that this could happen in a children's hospital but we see that crime happens everywhere now.

"It is upsetting but we have security in place and if we need to review it we will."

The crimes were included in the hospital's incidents/near miss and complaints report. It revealed that 110 crimes were reported at the hospital between January 1 and September 30 2010. This was 16 more than for the previous year.

Joan Collins, TD, a campaigner with Save Our Lady's Hospital Campaign, said aspects of the report, including the suspected drug dealing, were "incredible".

"Many people will be shocked that this is happening in the hospital grounds.

"It just goes to show who much society has changed."

hnews@herald.ie