Needles left lying around as residents tormented by drug gangs 

Needles left lying around as residents tormented by drug gangs 
A syringe wrapped in tinfoil that was found by a young girl in Ballyvolane

RESIDENTS in a city housing estate are being “tormented” by drug-taking gangs who are causing thousands of euro of damage to property, it has been claimed.

Images have emerged on social media of a heroin needle which was found by a young girl outside her grandparents’ home in Meelick Park in Ballyvolane, close to the green area known as Kempton Park.

The needle had been wrapped in tinfoil along with other drug paraphernalia.

A local resident, who declined to be named over fears of being targeted by the gangs, said drug-taking and anti-social behaviour by groups coming from outside the area is a daily occurrence.

“People are living in fear because of all that is going on inside the park. One man had people dancing on top of his new car at 3am in the morning,” the resident said.

“People living in the estate are absolutely wrecked by this. There is drugs paraphernalia here all the time. There is tinfoil burnt and small plastic bags around the park.

“The gangs can be there up to 7am having parties in the park. They can be 70-strong so we can’t go out. Only a few weeks ago there was a fight outside my house.”

Gardaí said they are aware of issues in the area and are monitoring the situation.

However, councillor Ken O’Flynn (FF) said an increased Garda presence is needed to tackle the antisocial behaviour.

Cllr Ken O'Flynn
Cllr Ken O'Flynn

“We’ve had massive problems with Meelick Park and the general Ballyvolane area in the last number of years," he said.

“Cork City Council has tried to tackle this behaviour by closing off laneways and housing estate exits, but it’s about time the gardaí stepped up.

“The amenity park in Meelick Park has a full playground there and it’s where everybody from Mayfield and Ballyvolane goes with their kids.

“This is all gang-related and there has been thousands of euro worth of damage done to people’s cars and homes and people are tormented,” he added.

Stephen Scully, of City Hall’s environment and recreation department, said the local authority is aware of the issues at Meelick Park, but some residents do not want a troublesome laneway leading to Park Court closed, despite a nearby laneway leading to Chapel Gate being closed off earlier this year.

“It [the laneway] is divisive in the community. We maintain it and it’s in a clean state, but in the absence of any clear community will to have it fully closed, we can’t.

“We are monitoring the situation. We have only had a few complaints from the public on it.

“It’s not an easy situation to resolve because if we close it, we are cutting off a route for children and elderly people,” he added.

The Cork Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force has urged anyone coming into contact with drug paraphernalia not to touch needles.

People who are pricked by needles should immediately contact their local GP or hospital accident and emergency department.

Cork City Council runs two dedicated drug litter collection phones lines at 1800 222 226 from 9am-5pm or 021 496 6512 outside business hours.

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