Drug addicts shoot up in front of shocked tourists

by Emma Nolan

“I don’t even want to repeat some of the sights I’ve seen.”
Those are the words of a local resident in the Christ Church area of Dublin 8, who says that the drug problem in the area has reached “epidemic” levels.
All around Christ Church Cathedral, one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, is a hive of drug related activity.
Addicts line the streets and the sight of used syringes is “far too common” in an area that sees a massive daily influx of tourists for not only Christ Church, but also St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin Castle, Dublinia, the Guinness Storehouse and the Teelings Distillery.
As well as the many bars, restaurants and shops in the area.
Along with the influx of tourists there is a daily influx of addicts who use the HSE addiction services in the vicinity.
There are three HSE run clinics with addiction services all in close proximity in the area. They are the Castle Street Addiction Centre, the Bride Street Treatment Service and the Merchant’s Quay Homeless and Drug Services.
Nearby is also the Coolmine drug and alcohol treatment centre on Lord Edward Street.
“It’s an epidemic,” says a resident who witnesses addicts “shooting up” at the car park of their apartment complex on a regular basis.
“I’ve seen them get out of taxis to attend the local clinics so there’s no shortage of money – this isn’t a homeless issue, it’s a drug issue.”
The resident believes that many drug dealers work in the area to sell to the addicts who frequent the methadone clinics there.
“It’s killing tourism – I’ve seen tourists being shocked at the behaviour, seeing people shooting up, vomiting, urinating, defecating right in front of them,” they said.
A spokesperson for Failte Ireland said: “By and large our visitors tell us that they find Ireland to be a safe place.
“We also support the Irish Tourist Assistant Service which provides immediate support and assistance to visitors to the country who become victims of crime.”
Speaking to The Gazette on the issue, Australian tourist Susan Curtis said that while she loves Dublin she has noticed that “open drug use” and “inebriated individuals” are a common sight in the city centre.
“It’s easy to find used syringes and other drug paraphernalia just left on the street here,” she added.
“Werburgh Street, just off Lord Edward Street is a particularly bad spot.”
Just a few feet from where tourists and locals are queuing on the street for “Dublin’s Oldest Chipper” Leo Burdock’s on Werburgh Street, used syringes and needle tops line the footpath and individuals can be seen using drugs out in the open.
Dublin City Council told The Gazette that they are “aware of the ongoing drug issues in Dublin City” and that their “Waste Management Division continues to remove drug paraphernalia around the Christ Church Place area”.
Locals however believe that this is not enough.
“Everyone is turning a blind eye,” one said.
“I’ve never seen it so bad, even in the 80s it wasn’t as bad as this.”

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