PARENTS were horrified when a large number of bloodied syringes were dumped where children play in a Dublin housing estate.
Residents of the estate alerted gardai about the danger of needles scattered close to the homes of young families. But they ended up picking up all the syringes themselves when help failed to arrive.
The needles were found at the entrance to Suncroft Drive in Tallaght and residents believe they were all dumped at the same time.
Local resident Lisa Stuart told the Herald: "The needles were directly across the road from my house. As soon as I heard, I called my three boys into the house."
Mrs Stuart paid tribute to a local woman who alerted families to the danger and who stood guard over the discarded needles as she waited in vain for gardai to arrive.
Locals claimed they waited for up to three hours. When no-one came, two women donned rubber gloves and placed the needles into a bag.
As they did not want to risk local binmen being pricked by the needles, they threw the bag over a high security fence onto waste ground.
Leo Magee, head of waste management at South Dublin County Council, said: "The woman who stood over those needles did a very good deed in keeping the area safe.
"There was a mix-up as we had believed residents had disposed of the needles. We will send a crew out to deal with it.
"We get reports about needles being seen from time to time but often when someone is sent to the area the needles can't be found. Our advice is that people should not touch needles as they could get stuck."
The council's emergency number is 4574907.