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Time to Rehabilitate St Audoen’s Park?


Time to Rehabilitate St Audoen’s Park?

St Audeon’s Park, situated next door to the historic church of the same name, off High Street, has come into the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The historic grounds have, in recent years, become a hive of activity for drug users.  It is believed that drug users are injecting themselves during the day in an area that should be a public amenity.  Sadly, the problem of public heroin use in the Capital is still a major issue for Dublin City Council whose workforce collected 6000 used syringes after a cleanup in the city last year. (Credit: The Evening Herald)

According to DCC, the park has been on their radar for a number of years but it has yet to affectively tackle this problem. The park, which is quickly now becoming an eye sore due to this drug activity has ceased to be of public value, as locals now avoid it at all costs. The Merchant Quay Project, located down the hill, provides users with clean “works” (i.e. clean and new Syringes, plungers etc.). Unfortunately, it has no space available for drug users to intake. It is entirely possible that this adding to the problem.  To its credit, the Merchant Quay Project has a system in place called “The Exchange”, where users can bring back used syringes and get new ones to take away, but not all users will carry around used drug syringes, and some just dump them once used in public places.

According to the DCC the problem with St Audeon’s Park is multi-faceted. They need to sit down with various groups including the Garda, community groups and indeed local rehabilitation centres to try and develop a better plan to tackle St Audeon’s grounds once and for all.

The grounds not only are beside the DCC headquarters but more pertinently, are also beside a local school, prompting additional and indeed necessary concern. Its close proximity to major attractions such as Temple Bar, St Patricks Cathedral and of course, Christ Church Cathedral, attracts tourists, who have been known to wander in only to quickly leave. To be fair, Garda are regularly patrolling the park, this has sadly not led to deterrence. There are a least 2 drug services in the area, and the park seems to be a place for some addicts to go to pass some time.

The park provides a beautiful oasis in a busy, populated area of the city.  It is situated in an historically significant area , indeed, not far from the original Atha Cliath settlement.  Perhaps, if a place existed for drug users use in a safe environment and in an area that can take such services then maybe we wouldn’t have anyone hanging around parks and “using” in public places. It could be to everyone’s benefit if such a place existed.  Either way, we need new thinking on how to tackle this problem, these spaces belong to the public and we need to reclaim them without fear.

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