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Front view of the entrance to the Mater Hospital in Dublin. Alamy Stock Photo

Mater Hospital requested additional garda patrols due to drug dealing in Emergency Department

The Mater Hospital also raised serious concerns over its Centre for Nurse Education, which it said was being burgled at least twice every year.

A BUSY HOSPITAL pleaded with gardaí to provide more patrols because of open drug dealing in its emergency department, rising anti-social behaviour, and a failure to provide a proper handover for patients that were being dropped off by police.

The Mater Hospital in Dublin also raised serious concerns over its Centre for Nurse Education, which it said had become a magnet for drug and alcohol abuse and was being burgled at least twice every year.

In an email to An Garda Síochána in July, the Mater said it was extremely worried about its nurse’s education centre – close by the main hospital – saying it was regularly having to move on drug users from the exterior basement.

The hospital said hospital maintenance had been forced to gate up external storage areas, and that cleaners were regularly removing abandoned bedding and alcohol cans.

The email said: “This area is being accessed via the fire access stairs at the front of the building. Unfortunately, we are unable to chain this access point due to fire safety regulations.”

In its correspondence, the Mater provided the dates of five incidents in the space of three weeks where security staff were forced to intervene for safety reasons.

It said the education centre was intended to be a safe learning environment for young students, and that it also housed locker rooms for female students on its basement floor.

The email from their head of security said: “Over the past three years, we’ve experienced a disturbing trend of at least two burglaries annually.

“We’ve made every possible effort from our end to mitigate the issue, but the physical constraints of the building limit our options.”

The head of security asked if gardaí could carry out regular patrols in the area to help provide a “much-needed sense of safety and reassurance” to their young students.

Separately, the Mater also asked for a meeting with gardaí in mid-June over rising concerns over safety, particularly in its accident and emergency department.

A copy of an email, released under the Freedom of Information Act, flagged a number of concerns including “patients being brought to … A&E but no handover is being provided to hospital staff” as well as “increasing levels of drug dealing and anti-social behaviour at the Mater ED [emergency department]”.

Details of a third issue that was raised with gardaí were withheld on security grounds.

A hospital spokesperson said: “The [Mater’s] number one priority is the safety of our patients and our staff.  Prior to the onset of Covid-19, An Garda Síochána had a visible presence on our campus as part of our endeavours to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for everyone at the hospital.

“Since the lifting of the last of the Covid restrictions on visiting at the hospital, this has now been reinstated.  The Mater welcomes this important partnership with the Gardai and their support in ensuring a safe environment for all who work, visit or are inpatients at the hospital.”