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Dublin Lord Mayor calls for task force to tackle inner city addiction problems

Christy Burke said that “certain senior politicians don’t see any votes in addiction, so they don’t see it as a priority”.

Image: John Flanagan via Flickr/Creative Commons

DUBLIN LORD MAYOR Christy Burke has called for all organisations involved in tackling addiction and homelessness issues in Dublin city centre to come “under the one umbrella”.

He speaking in the wake of widespread criticism of the levels of begging and visible drug use in the city, with articles in the Sunday Times and The Irish Times, as well as the issue being discussed on Liveline.

Earlier this morning, Temple Bar restaurant owner and President of Irish Restaurant’s Association Pádraic Óg Gallagher  said that begging is becoming “in your face, it’s not just passive”.

“If you’re standing outside looking at the menu, you’d have people coming up and pushing cups up in your face,” he told The Marian Finaunce Show.

“There’s probably maybe only 100, a small cohort of professional beggers,” he said.

It’s the concentration of drug treatment centres in the city, it’s wrong.

Burke is now calling for a task force consisting of community and Government representatives, led by either the Taoiseach or the Tánaiste, to be formed.

“We also need representatives of that people in recovery, who know what the person on the street needs,” he explained on RTÉ’s This Week programme.

“I’m a big believer in rehabilitation… the habit can be arrested.”

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Burke described as “unacceptable” that people are dealing drugs openly on the streets of Dublin, and said it “can not be tolerated”, saying that more action is needed to tackle this:

I believe, and this is my personal belief, that certain senior politicians don’t see any votes in addiction, so they don’t see it as a priority.

“They’re begging to wake up to see that it’s a problem.”

Read: 39 families were made homeless in July in Dublin alone >

More: Touching comic tells story of homeless man who saved rabbit from Liffey >

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Nicky Ryan

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