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Homeless man is found dead in 'drug den' park

A homeless man was found dead in a north inner city park that Lord Mayor Christy Burke called a "drug den".

"I am blue in the face asking the authorities to do something about this park," he said.

Mr Burke said of the green area: "I see open drug dealing there on a daily basis, right on the steps.

"This is no longer anti-social behaviour that is frightening the locals, this is unacceptable behaviour."

The homeless man was found dead in the park yesterday morning, and gardai in Mountjoy garda station are investigating.

The man is understood to be from Dublin and aged in his early 30s.

"I only said last week that we are going to find someone dead there and then this happens," said Mr Burke.

"Homeless people climb in over the railings and are sleeping there at night and drug dealers are congregating there.

"It's being used as the biggest drug den in this city."

Mr Burke, who has campaigned against drug-dealing for more than three decades and is calling for greater garda resources, made contact with members of the force after he heard of the park death.

"I'm not calling, I am demanding a greater garda presence in the north inner city and Dublin central," he said.

Last April, Dublin City Council (DCC) was allocated €3.2m for the renovation of vacant units under a €15m nationwide scheme.

crisis

The initiative began in order to deal with the housing crisis - a shortage of suitable properties and homelessness.

Mr Burke said 48 new permanent beds for homeless people will be available by September, and 200 more will be back in stock by December.

When asked what he was doing for homelessness in the city, as he had made it his number one priority on his appointment as mayor, Mr Burke said: "We continue our work, it's a work in progress."

The Lord Mayor is chairman of Inner City Helping Homeless and has spent every Wednesday night for nearly a year feeding the homeless in the city centre.

When the Government announced the scheme for turning vacant properties into habitable accommodation, it emerged that Dublin had the greatest needs.

The biggest number of long-term empty properties were in the city centre, where 470 flats and houses have been left vacant because the council cannot afford extensive renovations.

Neighbouring local authority Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown was given the least amount of money - €30,000 - to renovate just one property, while Fingal got €1,259,000 to bring 95 properties into use. There are approximately 19,000 people on the housing list in Dublin.

jfegan@herald.ie


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