Portobello Plaza: Antisocial activity makes life ‘hellish’ for residents

Council closed canalside Dublin plaza for period due to ‘disgusting’ behaviour

Portobello Plaza: Just reopened after being closed by Dublin City Council due to what local residents said was “hellish” and “extreme” behaviour. Photograph: Laura Hutton

Portobello Plaza: Just reopened after being closed by Dublin City Council due to what local residents said was “hellish” and “extreme” behaviour. Photograph: Laura Hutton

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Widespread public urination, public drug dealing and an incident where a man “pointed his penis” towards a woman and “sprayed urine in her direction” were among incidents that made life for residents near Dublin’s Portobello Plaza “hellish” this spring, records reveal.

Documents released to The Irish Times show how residents complained of rampant anti-social behaviour on the plaza, which ultimately led to it being fenced off in May.

The records show Dublin City Council began to receive complaints from late March, building to a peak in May just before the council announced it would curtail access.

‘Relieving themselves’

By that stage, residents were telling the council that from Thursday to Sunday “we see people urinating across the street multiple times a day”, of arrests, of “people trying to offer us money to use our bathroom”, and of fights “because someone has made a pass at someone else’s significant other”.

Portobello Plaza in Dublin, which was closed by Dublin City Council due to what it described as unacceptable behaviour. Photograph: Laura Hutton/ The Irish Times
Portobello Plaza in Dublin during its closure by Dublin City Council, due to what it described as unacceptable behaviour. File photograph: Laura Hutton

“We have to dodge drunk people when we need to go outside, there’s the loud music, the screaming, the shouting, the singing. To add to all of that, as a woman I don’t feel comfortable going outside after a certain time at the weekend,” one resident wrote. “I pay my rent to see people relieving themselves every time I look out the window? It’s disgusting.”

Another resident, who lives in the area with his wife and toddler, decried a “total lack of action” in countering “extreme antisocial behaviour” in the area, including public urination and “open selling and use of drugs”.

Urine ‘sprayed’

He told the council his wife confronted a urinating man beside their home during the day who “turned and pointed his penis towards her and sprayed urine in her direction while telling her to ‘f**k off’”. The same resident wrote of witnessing three “open drug deals” in a 100m walk with his son.

Another resident wrote that on opening their front door “there was a girl squatting there, her bottom totally exposed” and urine “flowing” onto her own and neighbouring doors. Another told the council that a bike bunker used by her daughter was being used as a toilet: “Is she expected to wade through urine and human faeces to collect it?”

The plaza has reopened after the temporary closure, the council said on Tuesday.