COUNCILLORS on the city's northside have backed HSE calls to keep a controversial needle bin in place despite concerns from residents.
Gardaí and the HSE have reported that the needle bin on the steps off Wellington Road has been a success, resulting in a significant drop in the number of needles and other drug paraphernalia found in the area.
Local Fine Gael councillor Joe Kavanagh had submitted motions to Cork City Council in recent months calling for the removal of the bin. He said that residents had complained that the bins were located too close to schools and parks in the area.
Information given to the councillors showed that gardaí were finding 77 used needles every month in the area before the bin was installed in January 2017. This number has dropped to zero since.
Gardaí and the HSE have also acknowledged that the bin is not drawing drug users to the area, as had been suggested. It is largely used by people living nearby, according to a report issued to councillors.
Mr Kavanagh said that he will discuss the information with residents before deciding whether or not to proceed with his motion to call for the bin's removal.
Many of the other councillors in the area backed the bin to stay, though.
Sinn Féin's Stephen Cunningham said: "I don't want it there but it was required and until the issue is sorted, we cannot remove that bin or we will start finding needles on the street again."
Similar comments came from Blackpool councillor John Sheehan, who said there is a notable reduction in the volume of drug litter on the streets since the bin was added, and Tim Brosnan, who said that the bin should remain a temporary solution, but advocated for it to stay in place until the problem is resolved.
Worker's Party councillor Ted Tynan added, "Before the bin was introduced, people were finding needles in their gardens, in shrubbery, on footpaths; it was everywhere. Since it was added, the footpaths are clear."
City chiefs said that the bin will only be removed if gardaí and the HSE indicate that the problem with drug use in the area has been resolved.