Saturday 29 November 2014

Phone-box drug den on busy street to be axed

Published 07/08/2014 | 06:56

Two drug users use a phone box near the Ha'penny bridge

A city-centre phone-box turned drug den is to be removed after a four-year campaign.

Four Eircom phone-boxes, at 19-20 South Great George's Street, which were being used for injecting heroin, have been listed for removal by Dublin City Council (DCC).

"It became a ghetto. They were constantly being used for taking drugs, hiding drugs and dealing drugs," said independent councillor Mannix Flynn.

Mr Flynn had been campaigning for their removal for four years after he became inundated with complaints from local businesses and residents, who had become afraid of the area.

"The impact on the businesses was huge. The amount of businesses on the street that were affected, it was just totally unacceptable," he said.

behaviour

In a letter to DCC's Chief Executive, Owen Keegan, on behalf of stakeholders, it stated that the phone-boxes were, "subject to constant anti-social behaviour which is having a huge negative impact on local businesses at this location."

The phone-boxes, a number of bike racks and two public benches, are located outside the Rustic Stone restaurant of celebrity chef Dylan McGrath and a busy Dunnes Stores.

"This item has been on the agenda for the last four years with little or nothing being done to alleviate the problem," read the letter to Mr Keegan.

It also said that the phone-boxes resembled an "open sewer."

Mr Keegan replied and stated that a meeting had taken place between Eircom and DCC to address the problem. And he agreed that the phone-boxes were "problematic and constantly vandalised".

"These phone-boxes at 19-20 South Great George's Street outside Dunnes Stores will shortly be listed to Eircom for removal," Mr Keegan added in his letter.

Mr Flynn hopes that they will be removed immediately.

activity

"They became meeting places and people would use them to make calls to get gear," Mr Flynn told the Herald.

"I've any amount of video footage and photographs of the activity that went on in them."

The phone-booths are also located close by to at ATM.

One idea that was mooted last year to tackle public consumption of drugs was mobile-injecting units.

jfegan@herald.ie

Irish Independent

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