South Dublin County Council Councillor Derren Ó Brádaigh has expressed both welcome and concern at the initial results from data collated from a pilot mapping project being carried out by South Dublin County Council, into the misuse of nitrous oxide as an inhalant across the county. Ó Brádaigh was speaking after he received a detailed response to an official question that he raised this month.
The Lucan-Palmerstown-North Clondalkin councillor said; “Worrying, but not surprising details have this week been confirmed to me, regarding the gathering of data since my motion in July, as to the locations where discarded nitrous oxide canisters have been reported and or removed by council work crews. My understanding is that this mapping exercise was to take place for a period of three to four months, however I am encouraged to learn that the intention is to continue the pilot for 12 months up until next summer in order to garner a fuller picture.
“In July I had this motion agreed at a sitting of the full Council meeting. I believe that more needs to be done, and for that reason I asked that the Council agree to write to the Minister for Public Health, Well-Being and National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan, with a view to rolling out a national awareness campaign. I welcome the recent new colour advertisements on the HSE website warning of the dangers in this regard, but we need to take greater action.
“The exercise to record this data has been undertaken by the Public Realm Department since August with information collected pertaining to 18 major locations, that cover just about every major park and many vicinities in every constituency in the county. Together with more general anti-social related incidences occurring in our public parks, this really does raise questions about how we monitor our own park spaces and what can we do to take them back.
“It is also intended that other departments such as Housing will be asked to provide any relevant information that they have on the matter and this will be collated with public realm information. Unfortunately, the use of this substance is not illegal and anecdotal evidence suggests that the canisters can be easily purchased on-line.
“In speaking to the motion back in July, I made the case that we need to engage the manufacturers of this product in finding a solution, as we all have a responsibility in protecting our youth, despite the downplaying of this malpractice by some. I will continue to request updates on this excellent pilot project, and I look forward to the final results being utilised to better understand the nature of this problem, and for the information to be shared with all those groups that work tirelessly with the victims of drug and substance abuse in bringing their expertise into play.”