Public drug use sees 25% avoid city centre

More people feel safe travelling into Dublin city centre to shop and socialise but over a quarter still say they will not do so because of drug-related antisocial behaviour.

A survey by business group Dublin Town, of over 1,000 people last November, found while 27% will not come into the centre, the figure was down from 36% in 2012.

“The things that make them feel unsafe is aggressive begging as well as drug taking and dealing,” said CEO of Dublin Town, Richard Guiney. “While 27% is still too high, we are moving in the right direction.”

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Speaking at a conference organised by Better City for All, a multi-agency initiative, he said Dublin Town worked closely with Dublin City Council, gardaí and drug projects like Ana Liffey.

Dawn Russell of Ana Liffey said they set up an initiative with gardaí to reach out to a core group of 50 to 100 users engaging in public injecting and low-level criminality. She said they were working with 34 people.

Brian Friel of the Peter McVerry Trust said the Housing First initiative being run by them, in conjunction with Focus Ireland, turned the table on the traditional hostel model towards independent living.They provided apartments to 31 people.

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