Thursday, 20 June 2013

Questions (108)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

108. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason there are permanent padlocks on the gates of Croppies Acre, adjacent to Collins Barracks, Dublin; the reason that this burial ground is not open to the public as a place of reflection and as a historical site of huge importance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29701/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Esplanade in front of Collins Barracks, commonly known as Croppies Acre, has been susceptible to anti-social behaviour for quite some time. The walls are quite easily scaled in certain parts and the grounds are frequented by drug users and people abusing alcohol generally during the hours of darkness and especially at weekends. The grounds had been opened to the general public by the Office of Public Works, from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Saturday, in line with the opening hours of the nearby National Museum. Unfortunately, it was becoming increasingly common for OPW staff to discover used syringes among other rubbish discarded by drug users. In October 2012 a decision was taken to close the area to the public on health and safety grounds, as sufficient resources are not available to the OPW to sterilise the entire area every day before opening the gates. OPW considered that the risks associated with discarded needles were too great too continue to allow access to either their staff or the public.

However OPW has been exploring ways of re-opening Croppies Acre and discussions are ongoing with Dublin City Council's Parks Department, in relation to the granting of a licence to the Council to manage and maintain the park.