More than 30 pairs of runners removed from Dublin overhead wires

Councillor says he received complaints from residents and businesses over footwear at Whitefriar Place

More than 30 pairs of runners that had been hanging from overhead wires in an area of Dublin city were removed this summer after a councillor complained that they looked appalling.

Dozens of pairs of shoes that had been flung on to the electricity wires around the Whitefriar area, near Aungier Street in the city centre, were removed by the ESB following a request from Dublin City Council.

There is a belief that a pair of runners thrown over an electricity wire indicates that someone can buy drugs around that area — but An Garda Síochána said it couldn’t say for sure if there was any truth in that.

Independent Councillor Mannix Flynn raised the issue with Dublin City Council management at a meeting of the council’s southeast Area Committee.


“Can the manager have the runners removed from the wires in and around Avalon House, Whitefriar Place and the YMCA and other areas within the Whitefriar area,” he asked.

The council responded that “arrangements have been made to have the footwear removed from the overhead wires. Dublin City Council has arranged to have over 30 pairs of runners removed from the wires in the vicinity of the Avalon House and YMCA.”

The council told The Irish Times that it asked the ESB to remove the shoes and that by June 14th “these runners were noted to have been removed”.

Mr Flynn said he had received a lot of complaints from residents and businesses about the shoes, which he said looked appalling. “Whatever about one pair of runners or two. There are 30 pairs, and it looks just completely appalling ... It’s a tagging marker and it’s to tell you, you can score [drugs] here. Everyone recognises this.”

Mr Flynn said the issue with the runners was indicative of other problems concerning the general appearance of the city centre. He said a lot of work and money is being put into cycleways and pedestrian areas, such as on Capel Street, but “what good is it going to be if it’s manky dirty?”

He added: “If you’re there dining alfresco and take a look at the mank you’re sitting in, take a look at the filth — it’s not acceptable.”

A Garda spokesman said it was not possible to say for sure whether runners hanging from a wire signalled that drugs could be bought in an area.

“An Garda Síochána, through its community policing provisions, continues to focus on community engagement, crime prevention and law enforcement and addresses crime and policing quality of life issues affecting all communities,” he added.

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin is an Irish Times journalist