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Dirty syringes see Croppies Acre padlocked after €35k clean-up

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Some of the used needles among the pile of cans, broken bottles and other rubbish in the Croppies Acre memorial park in Dublin. Julien Behal/PA Wire

Some of the used needles among the pile of cans, broken bottles and other rubbish in the Croppies Acre memorial park in Dublin. Julien Behal/PA Wire

Some of the used needles among the pile of cans, broken bottles and other rubbish in the Croppies Acre memorial park in Dublin. Julien Behal/PA Wire

Campaigners have demanded the reopening of a memorial park to Irish patriots that closed a year after tens of thousands of euro in public money were poured into upgrading it.

The Croppies Acre in central Dublin – described as "sacred ground" – has turned into a no-go zone because authorities say they can't cope with drugs users and dirty syringes that litter the historical site.

Some €35,000 was spent overhauling the park in September 2011.

HAZARDOUS

The renovations included making it the new home of the capital's troubled Anna Livia sculpture – known as the Floozy In The Jacuzzi.

But the Office of Public Works (OPW) said it has been forced to padlock the gates because of public health fears.

"Specialist cleaners are employed to remove hazardous material such as used syringes," said an OPW spokeswoman.

"However, as resources are not sufficient to keep the park clear of dangerous materials at all times and thus safe for public access, the park has had to be closed to the public."

Anti-social behaviour was also threatening public safety, according to the OPW, which said it didn't have the resources to put security at the site.

Drug-users and street drinkers continue to scale the walls of the park, near Heuston Station, which is strewn with dirty hypodermic needles, broken glass, beer cans, wine cartons and old clothes.

Matt Doyle, secretary of the National Graves Association, said the Croppies Acre was "sacred ground" and a "hugely important" part of Irish heritage.

HAIRCUTS

"It is neglected and it is unfortunate there are syringes and the like lying about it," he said. "It is the responsibility of the OPW and we would urge them to clean it up." He said it needed to be "saved" and reopened as soon as possible.

The memorial park was a mass grave for 'croppies' after the United Irishmen rebellion.

The rebels were so called after their cropped haircuts, in the style of French revolutionaries.

hnews@herald.ie


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