‘Wet house’ residents a threat to students

THE Gateway Project proposes to demolish a derelict building at No 34 Leitrim Street in Cork and to construct a new hostel on the site.

Its purpose is to accommodate street drinkers who opt to sleep rough rather than conform to the ‘dry house’ rules at the Andersons Quay shelter. Residents will be allowed to bring alcoholic drink into the new premises and consume it therein. If it passes the planning stage, the Leitrim Street hostel will be the first ‘wet house’ in Cork.

The most intractable cases of alcoholism will be encouraged to live in the new hostel: people who have been reduced to poverty and homelessness by an all-controlling addiction to drink, and who have failed to respond to any previous interventions.

They will be allowed to make the hostel their home without any commitment to sobriety. As well as being permitted to drink inside, they will be allowed to come and go as they please, and to continue their lives as street drinkers, which invariably includes begging for drink money.

No 34 Leitrim Street is within a few minutes walk of two primary schools and five secondary schools. It is less than ninety paces from the main route to and from schools with a combined pupil population of more than 4,000.

No part of Cork city, with the exception of UCC and CIT, has such a concentration of educational facilities. Pupils pass through and congregate in this area between 8am and 9pm when supervised study ends.

People who are drunk present many dangers to schoolchildren. I have not heard arguments which would convince parents otherwise. The wisdom of a plan that puts street drinkers, some suffering from psychiatric problems, in the daily path of vulnerable schoolchildren must be questioned. All the schools in the area consider the proposed wet house to be a serious threat to the health and safety of the pupils under their care. These views have been made known to all Cork city councillors who have been asked to vote against the proposal.

Tony McCarthy

Deputy Principal

Christian Brothers College

Sidney Hill

Cork

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