The Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork has called for the removal of a specialised bin that was installed in the city for drug users to dispose of needles.
Two heavy-duty containers were installed in recent weeks in alleyways off Wellington Road, marked with a biohazard symbol.
The aim was to put the onus on addicts to dump drug paraphernalia securely rather than leaving syringes on the streets, on steps, or in alleyways, where passing pedestrians or children might handle them.
However, Deputy Lord Mayor Joe Kavanagh said the bins should be removed immediately.
He said it was an “absolute disgrace and total disregard for the local settled neighbourhood not to mention the 3,000 pupils of nearby schools”.
Mr Kavanagh was particularly angered that a bin was located on isolated steps, which he said could attract drug users to the area.
“This is absolute madness and totally unacceptable. I have called for the immediate removal of this bin, in the interest of public safety. Local residents are living in fear as to the potential adverse effects this bin may attract to this relatively quiet, settled residential and densely populated educational quarter of our city,” he said.
Gardaí were supportive of the idea of needle bins as part of the solution to tackle drug use in the city. There were concerns that needles had been left lying around on the streets and that it was a major health risk if someone got accidentally pricked.
At a recent community policing meeting in the city, Superintendent Mick Comyns said the bins had been successful in other parts of the country.
“It does seem to have been successful elsewhere,” he said.
He said drug use continues to be a big problem in Cork city.
Halfway down a flight of steps seems an odd place to locate a sharps bin. However, this has presumably been identified as a drug use hot spot.
I hope the Deputy Lord Mayor is prepared to shoulder all responsibility for any incidents that might arise because Cork does NOT have an accessible sharps bin!