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Controversial shelter to be reduced in size

THE controversial Abigail Centre for homeless women will accommodate fewer people in the hope of easing the concerns of locals.

Residents who live near the centre on the Kildonan Road in Finglas have alleged that there has been a serious spike in anti- social behaviour in the area since it opened last December.

People have reported incidents of open drug use and people participating in sexual acts.

In a nearby football pitch used to train hundreds of schoolchildren, a used needle was found prompting regular sweeps of the field by club officials.

A protest by residents in March led to a series of negotiations, and now the Dublin Region Homeless Executive has agreed to reduce the number of people using the centre to 30.

When it first opened the centre housed up to 60 homeless women in the facility.

Service users in the centre who engage in "chaotic" behaviour are also due to be relocated.

An addiction specialist has been appointed to carry out a review of the centre and liaise with the community.

However, Tommy Devlin (inset) of the West Finglas Tenants and Residents Association (WFTA) said that the only solution is the winding down of the centre totally.

"We have completely lost faith in any chance of keeping it open," he told the Herald.

"Since it opened it's been total chaos."

WFTA are willing to discuss alternative uses for the building that will suit everyone, he added.