Concerns raised after syringe found discarded in Tallaght playspace area

By Laura Lyne

CALLS for the public to exercise safety around discarded needles and for the council to liaise with gardaí and local drugs groups have been made after a syringe was found in a Tallaght playspace in recent weeks.

The concerns surrounding needles were raised by two local councillors following reports from residents and local groups of the playspace at St Dominic’s falling into disrepair.

St Dominics Play Station 03

They reported broken glass and damage through vandalism in the playspace with one resident also disposing of a syringe after they found it in the play area.

Following the reports, Labour councillor Mick Duff and Anti-Austerity Alliance councillor Kieran Mahon raised their concerns about the maintenance of the playspace and the reporting of such incidents to gardaí and the Tallaght Drugs Task Force.

Cllr Duff told The Echo: “I was contacted by a number of residents in the area, with particular concern about the syringe that was found there.

“It was also littered with broken glass and the height of the grass was a big concern. It was a flagship playspace and a lot of effort and heartache went into seeing it established.

“So to see it falling into this disrepair is heartbreaking, there is no excuse for the condition of it.

“I was particularly worried to hear that one of the residents cleaned up the syringe that was found.

“I would call on residents to please not pick up syringes and needles if they find them. Call your local needle exchange.There is St Aongus in Tymon, JADD in Jobstown, CARP in Killinarden and the HSE in Glen Abbey on the Belgard Road.

“They are trained to go to these locations and clean them up. The staff in the council are also trained to do this.

“It’s absolutely appalling that needles were there, but I really want to remind residents to be extremely careful handling syringes and needles.”

In response to Cllr Duff, the council confirmed that the cleaning schedule of the playspace had changed to being cleaned on a weekly basis following the disbandment of a Gateway group who cleaned it every two to three days.

It said: “Reports were received over the summer months of syringes being found in the playspace, however when council staff inspected and searched the area none were found.

“The large basket swing referred to was reported as having been damaged through vandalism and has been temporarily removed.

“The swing will be replaced once repairs to it are completed. The grass around the playspace is being cut, however it is not on a regular schedule at present.

“It is hoped that this matter will be addressed in the coming weeks.”

Cllr Mahon told The Echo: “This was not only about St Dominic’s but about other playspaces throughout Tallaght, and drugs in communities throughout the area.

“I presented a motion to really highlight the importance of the council liaising with the gardaí and with groups such as the Tallaght Drugs Task Force, when it comes to drugs in the local communities.

“There was a good discussion in the council chamber and the other councillors generally supported my motion.

“There are so many community groups out there, people working in the community who are fighting for services to tackle drugs.

“Cuts over the years have these groups fighting for services, which is why I wanted to highlight the importance of the council liaising with the gardaí and groups to tackle these issues which at one point in history had a grip on communities in both Tallaght and throughout Dublin.”

In response to Cllr Mahon, the council said: “The council maintains a centralised system for the recording of needle finds and this is maintained by the health and safety adviser.

“At present such finds are not notified to the Gardai or local Drugs Task Force, however this can be arranged if required.”

In response to both councillors, South Dublin County Council confirmed that all public realm staff are trained in needlestick awareness and for the safe removal of needles.

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