TheLiberty is a local paper for Dublin's south inner city

February 2001

Greater Garda presence after drug deaths

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By Colin McGann
FEARS that heroin addicts are using the grounds of St James's Hospital for dealing and shooting up have intensified after the bodies of two drug addicts were discovered there last week.

The body of Isaac Turner (30) was discovered on February 2nd, in a toilet cubicle adjacent to the Hospital's Radiology Department.

Security personnel discovered the body of Christine Kiernan (40) in the same location the following night. She was taken to casualty but was pronounced dead shortly afterwards. Gardai are investigating these incidents and post mortems are being carried out on the bodies. It is suspected that both died from drug overdoses. The hospital has refused to comment on the incident, saying it is a matter for the Gardai.

A heavy garda presence in the Meath St and Thomas St area over the past number of weeks has resulted in a number of arrests for the possession and sale of hard drugs. There is speculation that this heavy presence in the area may have driven drug users into the grounds of the hospital.

Mr Fintan Hourihan, of the Irish Medical Organisation, said they had an ongoing concern that hospitals should be a safe working environment for all. He added that there was an onus on employers to ensure that this was so. Following a recent Sinn Fein backed anti-drugs march in the Liberties, a flyer that has circulated the area in recent weeks claims "drug dealers are still able to push their poison trade openly around Thomas St, Meath St and many other areas in the Liberties".

The flyer, which does not include the author's name, adds: "The Garda Siochana have failed miserably to provide the necessary support and resources to curb the activities of drug pushers. Is it that our communities are still viewed as being worth less (sic) to the Government and the Gardai?"

While admitting that the Criminal Assets Bureau has enjoyed some success against the city's main drug barons, Sinn Fein claim "that of the millions of pounds worth of drugs seized, only £20,000 has been put back into those communities affected in six years".