Gardai 'not responding quick enough' to park problem

Joan Collins

By Paul Healy and Joyce Fegan

DUBLIN City Council and the gardai are "not responding quickly enough" in terms of the ongoing drug activity in Dublin's St Audoen's Park, local representatives have claimed.

The Herald has revealed that 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.

Independent TD for the area, Joan Collins, said that a drop in resources within the local council was causing a slower response to the crisis.

"I know that the council are consistently on to wardens to make sure that the places are safer, but they are unfortunately not responding quickly enough," Deputy Collins said.

"It's more difficult for the council to solve the problem as resources have been continually cut.

"There are less staff and fewer resources and we have to look at those issues," she added.

On Tuesday, the Herald observed a large group of drug addicts shooting up in the park as tourists walked the grounds of the historic church.


"This is a blight on our city and we have to rethink how we respond to it," Ms Collins said.

"No one should have to live beside needles. So perhaps the thing to do would be to work out a system to have a place that supplies these people with the drugs they need in a place that's safer for them."

Local Fine Gael TD Catherine Byrne said that council workers having to pick up needles "is an absolute disgrace".

"There should be a rapid response unit going out to this place but again that all costs money," Deputy Byrne said.

"At the moment I think our whole policy towards drugs doesn't work. It's a huge problem never mind just in Dublin.

"I think that Merchants Quay is one of the best services around for this and they do great work in terms of needle exchange."

A spokesman for An Garda Siochana said that the area is patrolled on a regular basis.

"We regularly patrol that area, both in uniform and in plain clothes."

Dublin City Council did not comment before this article went to print.