Fine Gael TD says Dublin's O'Connell Street is full of 'druggies'

His comments have been described as stigmatising and degrading language by those involved in helping drug users.
Fine Gael TD says Dublin's O'Connell Street is full of 'druggies'

A Fine Gael TD, whose being criticised for saying Dublin's O'Connell Street is full of "druggies", says he stands over the comments.

Paul Kehoe used the term while calling for action on crime in the area. In the Dáil on Tuesday during a debate on tourism, the Wexford TD said he is ashamed of the capital’s main street.

His comments have been described as stigmatising and degrading language by those involved in helping drug users.

Former Dublin footballer Philly McMahon, whose brother died of a drug overdose, said it stigmatises and shames the most vulnerable.

Speaking to Newstalk on Wednesday, Mr Kehoe said he accepted that some don't approve of the language he has used but said "I'm more interested in the victims of drug related crime, that is making ordinary working people's lives an absolute misery."

Councillor in Dublin's north inner city, Nial Ring, told Newstalk there are issues along O’Connell Street, but he said the Government should be supporting the area not slagging it off. "Out of 30 million people using O'Connell Street every year, there are very, very few serious crimes - less than 30."

Mr Ring said a new Garda station is set to open on the street, while there are a number of Garda initiatives underway, as well as plans to revitalise the area.

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