Part I: Away from prying eyes, free of supervision (Sites in the laneways around Dublin’s hospitality centre)
Ana Liffey Drug Project has been lobbying for Medically Supervised Injecting Centres in Ireland since January 2012. On Thursday 3rd December 2015, ‘Desmond’ was blowing up a storm in Dublin – it wasn’t a day to be out and about. Nonetheless, that was the day I had agreed to show VolteFace Editor, Alastair Moore, and photographer, Dan Finnegan, the evidence of public injecting in the lane ways of Dublin City Centre.
The photographs you will see here are taken North and South of the River Liffey; they are taken in the alleyways in close proximity to some of Dublin’s most iconic and historically significant buildings. Public Injecting occurs in every alleyway in Dublin City Centre at some point in any given week; based on the available evidence we conservatively estimate that 400 individuals will inject in the public domain in any given month; however this figure is probably much higher. Suffice to say, Dublin City Centre has a significant problem with the injecting of drugs in the public domain.
Off Abbey Street, Dublin City Centre (just North of the River Liffey)
The Custom House on the quays (Home of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government)
The Quays, behind the Department of Health, and the lanes of Temple Bar (just South of the River Liffey)
Part II: Under the Supervision of St. Audeon, St. James and St. Catherine (Sites of cultural heritage and touristic importance)
On our second day of visiting public drug injecting sites in Dublin City Centre we focused on the ancient city walls and the headstones found in a public park on the Southside of Dublin City. Again, here we found syringes, needles (oranges, greens, blues and browns), tin foil, citric wrappers and other drug paraphernalia. These public drug injecting sites are in, or are near, tourist attractions. The setting makes for an eeriness that adds to the sense of isolation that people experience when hunkered down in the far corner of a park, behind a wall or resting on a headstone to prepare their drugs. The evidence is clear that the provision of Medically Supervised Injecting Centres in such an area would dramatically improve the situation for everyone and reduce the level of public drug injecting.
St. Audeon’s Church, Dublin (in the heart of Medieval Dublin)
St. Catherine’s Park, Dublin (near the Gates of the Guinness Brewery)
Dublin Castle, Dame Street (one of the most central and busy streets in the city)
After the tour, returning to the office, the urgency of the issue at hand was revealed.