Sunday 18 August 2019

Family's 'nightmare' after boy (10) struck by used needle

The young boy's arm after he was struck by a used needle
The young boy's arm after he was struck by a used needle
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

A distraught family has spoken of their "nightmare" after a young boy was hit by a used needle and now faces a six-month wait to see if he has caught any infections.

The boy - whose family prefer to remain anonymous - was playing with friends on a communal green area in Cloonmore in Tallaght, Dublin on October 22 when they saw a blood-covered bag filled with drug paraphernalia, such as needles, gloves and tinfoil.

After looking through the bag one of the used needles hit the ten-year-old boy's arm.

His worried aunt told "The kids were playing out in the field by the house, there were two bags left on the field and the kids started rummaging through them.

"One of them picked out the needle and when they threw it, it hit my nephew's arm.

"He went straight to the hospital and my dad brought the needle too.

Bloody gloves, needles and tinfoil were all dumped in the bag
Bloody gloves, needles and tinfoil were all dumped in the bag

"I called the gardai and stood at the bags until they arrived - I didn't want to leave it because there was more stuff in it, there was blood all over the bag, bloody gloves and needles and stuff.

"The guards took it away then."

The family member said that the boy will now have to wait months to see if he has contracted anything from the needle.

She said: "My nephew had to get blood taken, he had to get a hepatitis jab, he has to have another one in a month and another one in six months, he'll get the test results in six months time.

"We have been told that whatever could be in the needle would take around six months to develop.

"He was a bit drowsy and sleepy and the next night he had hallucinations but he has been grand ever since so we are just hoping that it's nothing.

"It's a nightmare, we are all worried, we just want those six months to hurry up."

The woman is furious that this kind of rubbish was discarded in an area that many children play in.

The boy now has to wait six months to see if he has caught anything from the needle
The boy now has to wait six months to see if he has caught anything from the needle

She said: "I don't think the kids realised the seriousness of it all.

"You would see needles and stuff by the wall but I don't think you would ever expect for it to be out there so openly, it was right in the middle of the field and there was so many kids playing there.

"There is literally a place two minutes up the road in the community centre, where people can dispose of their needles or you can bring them to Tallaght Hospital but they just decided not to.

"There's always other ways to dispose of it, you could even just put it in a box and into a regular bin but they left it in a bag open and everything was falling out of it, blood all over it - tinfoil, lighters, bloody gloves and needles falling out of it."

She added: "The main issue is that there are kids playing there and people should be wary and know where to drop their stuff instead of just dumping it in the middle of a busy field."

The used needle
The used needle

Local Labour party councillor Martina Genockey echoed these sentiments as she said that more must be done to try to prevent this kind of dumping.

Cllr Genockey said: "Unfortunately it isn't the first time that I have heard of this kind of littering in the area.

"There really is no excuse though, there's plenty of places to go with this kind of material, there is a needle exchange in the area, which is just two minutes up the road.

"They're completely not thinking about the children playing in the area, it's upsetting and shocking, there are so many services available for them to dump their rubbish.

"It's something that maybe we need to look at differently - the council is spending a lot of money on tackling illegal dumping but maybe if we looked at things like moving around covert CCTV.

"People are getting away with it so there's nothing to try and stop them from doing it."

A spokeswoman for South Dublin County Council said that they are aware of the incident and outlined what people should do if they find drug waste.

She said: "The council is aware of the incident, which was recently brought to its attention and appreciates the concerns expressed by the community in this regard.

"If any member of the public comes in contact with waste where syringes or drug paraphernalia are present, they should immediately call County Hall, Customer Care on 01/4149000, through which the call is logged (for record) and referred directly to our Public Realm unit.

"As our Public Realm crew are trained in needle stick awareness, we make immediate arrangements to attend on site and remove reported items.

"Members of the public are advised not make any direct contact with this paraphernalia."

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