Cllr. Charlie O’Connor has said greater effort must be made to encourage IV drug users to safely dispose of needles and urged the public to report any littered sharps especially in public spaces. The Cllr. was commenting following the discovery of a used syringe in Dodder Valley Park in Tallaght in recent weeks. It’s since emerged that a six-year-old boy picked up the used syringe and his family now await test results to determine any harm caused.

He said, “The incident recently is deeply concerning. This is a young boy, innocently out and about in a local park with family and who cannot be expected to know the dangers of picking up a needle. “Given the nature of IV drug use, syringes are likely to be contaminated and can transmit blood borne disease or infection. That’s why it is so critical that needles and any other drug paraphernalia are safely and properly disposed of. “The Dodder Valley Park area is popular with local young people and families – I dread to think that even more members of the public could be at risk or accidentally harmed by one of these needles.

“Our Local Authority does have a responsibility to have a service in place to respond to any report of drug litter in order to fully protect public health. I urge anyone who might discover a used syringe or any other drug related items to report it immediately to South Dublin County Council. Under no circumstance should anyone remove the needle(s) themselves. “Needle and Syringe Programmes (NSPs) are one means of ensuring IV drug users safely return used sharps so that they aren’t left on park benches, football pitches or public green space. Our Local and Regional Drug Taskforce are doing good work in our area but they have faced funding cuts in recent times and have had to limit their services including the provision of a needle exchange programme. “It’s far from ideal that the public have to be warned to be vigilant but this is just another troubling aspect of the drugs crisis that has infiltrated city communities like ours,” he concluded.