DRUG paraphernalia, human faeces and cigarette butts litter a Cork laneway on a regular basis, according to the woman who lives there.
Alice Coyle lives with her husband and almost two-year-old daughter on St Patrick’s Avenue which connects North Main Street and Grattan Street. The avenue was once open for public use, but a gate erected almost a decade ago by Shanbally Housing Association has put a stop to that.
The gate was erected close to the North Main Street side of the avenue, outside an apartment block, and effectively prevents people walking through. Ms Coyle told The Echo that since the lane was closed off, the street sweepers never venture down it.
She said the lack of light and the gateway make it an ideal spot for people shooting up or defecating without being seen. “It’s a dark alleyway and if people are looking for a place to go to the toilet or shoot up, they’re going to use it unless something is done. “Recently it was pretty bad, there was a lot of used toilet wipes.
“There’s a light in the laneway but it doesn’t go around the corner and there’s a very dark spot that’s perfect for people to go down at night time and there are people shooting up, going to the toilet and littering.
“We all sweep outside the front of our houses but it was piling up,” she added. “We could see the street sweepers but they wouldn’t come down because there were gates.
“If you get onto City Hall, they’d maybe send one down but it was never regular.”
Ms Coyle said she is afraid her daughter Evie will touch something horrible someday when outside.
“We’ve a young daughter, she’s nearly two, so she’s at that age where she’s out grabbing, investigating, touching, feeling and falling over at times,” she explained.
“When you know someone has gone to the toilet or is shooting up down the lane, it’s worrying.
“It’s the same with the dog when he goes out and finds a bin bag or something else and puts his face in it; it is a concern,” she added. “The gate was put up by the developer of the apartment block next door and its residents have that gate and another three levels of security.
“The developer insists he had permission from City Hall but no one has been able to confirm that to us.”
Ms Coyle has been trying to get the City Council to reopen the laneway and move the inner gate to the Grattan Street side.
“We’d like the gates moved because people still want them for security particularly at night, so we want them moved to the Grattan Street side of the laneway,” she explained.
“They could be left open all day and then closed after dark by either residents, City Hall or automatically.
“That would be great because everyone who lives down there by Grattan Street and the Marsh used to use this laneway all the time,” she added.
“It also affects the shops and business on North Main Street, because if people have to go in around in an about way, they won’t go.
“Moving the gate to the other end of the laneway would stop the type of behaviour and littering we’ve seen at night and during the day there’s always a passive observance as it’s busy, so you won’t have people hanging around.
“It would also mean it could be cleaned by City Hall.”
Cork City Hall and Shanbally Housing Association were contacted for comment.