Sunday 25 February 2018

Dublin city crime blamed on drug treatment centre

Business owners on a popular tourist trail want action taken against addicts

Dublin was named one of the 10 friendliest cities
Dublin was named one of the 10 friendliest cities

Jim Cusack and Wayne O'Connor

DUBLIN businesses are reporting seeing at least one mugging per day, and public drug dealing and drug taking in the cultural and tourist heart of the city.

Businesses on a popular tourist trail linking Dublin Castle, Christ Church Cathedral and the Guinness Storehouse feel that the cause for much of the crime in the area stems from the location of a prominent drug treatment centre on nearby Castle Street, a direct link between Dublin Castle and the Cathedral.

The methadone dispensary beside Dublin Castle is one of 17 located around the city centre, which combine to draw in thousands of addicts daily. Action by gardai in the Store Street district north of the Liffey against drug dealers has driven them across the river - and now southside business people are complaining about a rise in anti-social behaviour.

They also complain that the HSE's prescription of methadone to over 15,000 addicts has not resolved the issues associated with drug use.

One addict told the Sunday Independent that his methadone dose was being increased - instead of being decreased to wean him off of the drug.

Last Wednesday, a businessperson told the Sunday Independent of watching two addicts "shooting up" outside her workplace near Christ Church as they waited near the Castle Street centre.

"They had their sleeping bags with them and she pulled out a roll of tinfoil and tore a piece off. They then put their drugs in the tinfoil and cooked it," she said.

"A few weeks ago there was a child outside who was screaming so loudly and at such a pitch that we thought it was a dog. The child had been left outside and the parents would come in and out and roar at it to stop screaming, but it went on for about 20 minutes," she said.

Another businessman in the area said acts of violence were common and recalled seeing a child abandoned in the area one morning while its mother went up a nearby lane to buy drugs.

"One guy was beating up a girl outside and punching her in the face," he said.

"Another member of staff found an abandoned baby on the street. We all went out to the baby and then eventually the mother came back after being around the corner trying to score," he said.

He also spoke of seeing frequent drug dealing in the area and said the dealers could be intimidating. When any of the addicts attending the centre loiter outside of his business he said he asked them to leave - but he does not do the same with the dealers, who he finds far more intimidating.

There are also regular incidents of people urinating on the windows of businesses, while other people defecate in doorways or brawl on the street. "People are more than happy to defecate right in front of our door," a local said.

"The vomiting is probably because of withdrawals. They are also not adverse to dropping their trousers and relieving themselves on the window, regardless of who is in here," she said.

"A couple of weeks ago a guy was too out of it to be able to undo his trousers and he just pissed himself looking in the window. He knew what he should do, but just didn't get to do it."

The area is also littered with drug paraphernalia.

One business owner said he has had to park his car elsewhere to avoid stepping on syringes. "There are all kinds of sociological problems, but a couple of bins for needles like any forward-thinking city would not go astray," he said.

The muggings are of huge concern to locals. Because of their proximity to the centre many of the businesses have official policies and procedures for staff to follow when going to and from work.

"It seems bizarre that we have Christ Church Cathedral in all of its beauty, some great pubs - and then open-air drug dealing. You wouldn't see it in Amsterdam, Paris or any great city," he said.

Sunday Independent

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