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Terrifying encounter Toddler almost picked up discarded syringe as drug equipment found near two Wexford schools

"We were walking along and my two-year-old was picking up dandelions in the grass, she spotted a black box on the ground and went to pick it up"

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Some of the drug paraphernalia found in a laneway in Talbot Green

Some of the drug paraphernalia found in a laneway in Talbot Green

Some of the drug paraphernalia found in a laneway in Talbot Green

A two year old girl out picking dandelions with her mother almost became the latest victim of the ongoing drug abuse and anti-social behaviour in Wexford Town.

The girl's mother, who wished not to be named, explained what they encountered during an early morning walk in the area at the laneway linking Talbot Green with Green Street.

"We were walking along and my two-year-old was picking up dandelions in the grass, she spotted a black box on the ground and went to pick it up.

"I jumped up and said "no, don't touch it, put it down": written on the box was 'Shoot Up, Cook Up' and it was beside a pharmacy bag with syringes and a box reading 'One Hit Kick' with a spoon, fluid and wipes."

Understandably appalled, the young mother called local gardaí and stood by the items for as long as she could.

We visited the scene some hours later and saw the items for ourselves - a neighbour said they were finally removed sometime after 3 pm, a full six hours after being discovered.

And the woman said any number of children at the nearby primary and secondary schools could have picked up the items in the interim.

"Swarms of kids come down this way, the buses drop them at Talbot Green and they go to school this way,' she said. "A couple of months ago there was a meeting held following an incident where a man was found lying in the alleyway with a syringe hanging out of his arm.

"Another of my neighbours said she'd only swept up a load of syringes the other day. My fear is what will happen if my two-year-old picks something like that up, you're already worried about Covid, if she picks up a coke bottle or something and puts it in her mouth, but this is different.'

With the entire neighbourhood living in fear, a nearby resident agreed to discuss continuing problems in the laneway, but only under the condition of anonymity.

"I'm living here 26 years and I've never had any help from the council regarding this. I've had my house petrol bombed, been on my knees begging and crying for something to be done, for them to shut up the alley so we can get peace,' she said.

"The council won't allow me to make my wall higher so I can some peace from it. Because of the area it's in they can run away whenever the guards come, there's access points in and out of there.

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'We found two fellas overdosed out there at one point. It's only a matter of time until some little craythur pricks their hand on something.'

And she says it goes beyond drug abuse, that the area has become a haven for all kinds of anti-social behaviour.

"There's always a crowd of youngsters in and around there, it's unbearable at times, they use it as a toilet. The conversations I've heard, I could write a book on it. We have no peace whatsoever, we can't put anything outside because they'll steal it.

"People say why don't you move?' she asks. 'Why would I leave my home? I shouldn't have to leave."

Ultimately all this resident wants is a solution to her problem, for someone to help her and provide some answers.

"The council have never knocked on my door, I'd just like someone to come out and talk to me about it, that's all,' she says.

One person who has been campaigning on behalf of residents is local Sinn Féin councillor Tom Forde, and he says he has been continually thwarted in his efforts to bring peace to the area.

"I had a motion passed by the district council over two years ago which resulted in the installation of temporary cameras for a six-month period,' said Cllr Forde.

"These were installed after much work and after a child in the area had been aggressively confronted by an older man on his way home from playing soccer and drug paraphernalia was constantly bring found in the laneway.

"While these cameras deterred some behaviour for a period they were only ever a temporary solution.'

Last year Cllr Forde had a motion passed for permanent cameras to be installed in the laneway, yet he, and the residents, still await those cameras.

"I spoke to the County Secretary on Friday, he is preparing an application for the cameras but it will need the support of An Garda Siochana and will also have to go to public consultation before there is any possibility of these being delivered.'

Although any cameras would be added to the gardaí's CCTV system and monitored at all times, Cllr Forde believes something more drastic is required to end this issue once and for all.

"The best solution is to block off the laneway with a gate if the residents can agree on this. This has been done in other areas and keys can be provided to some residents who may wish to open the gate during certain periods of the day to allow for school access and to lock it in the evening or night.

"There is a great community spirit in Talbot Green and many in the area continue to push and push for improvements. All they ask for is a safe environment for themselves and their children. We must do our bit to provide that."

Wexford County Council were contacted for comment but at the time of going to print had yet to reply.

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