The shocking find on Cat Lane, off Tower St in the historic Barrack St quarter, has sparked serious public health concerns and prompted calls for swift action from the authorities. Among the items found earlier this week were:
*The remains of one-hit kit packs. The kits include needles, a filter syringe, ‘cooking-up’ spoons, swabs, and citric acid to prepare heroin, all packaged together in a sterile wrapper — enough ‘clean works’ for a single injection by a drug user. The kits are designed to encourage intravenous drugs users to change their injecting practice, to inject more safely, and to reduce the reuse and sharing of equipment;
*single-use needles and syringes;
*elastic bands which drug users strap around their arms to produce a vein for injecting.
The one-hit kits, which health chiefs say prevent the spread of Hepatitis C, are given out free by chemists which are part of a needle-exchange programme.
The paraphernalia was found between two large containers in an area near Long’s Yard used by children for football. Residents say they are now living in fear that their children could be exposed to deadly diseases if they are accidentally jabbed by the needles, or pick up the drugs equipment.
Independent Cllr Mick Finn, who raised concerns in September about open heroin use in several pockets of Cork City, called last night for an intense Garda blitz in this area.
“I have reported the matter to the HSE environmental health office and also to the gardaí,” he said.
“The area has been blighted with illegal dumping for several months. It was always likely to get to this point when nothing was being done to prevent the spread of litter.”
He called for a rigorous clean-up of the area, and pleaded with the council to resolve land ownership issues which are allowing for dereliction and illegal dumping.
Meanwhile, residents in the area have also uploaded a highly critical video to YouTube highlighting a year-long delay in cleaning up the litter and tackling dereliction.
The residents raised the issue with the council last March, but said there has been no effective response. The residents described the images in their video as a side of Cork the authorities don’t want the public to see.