DRUGS IN WEST DUBLIN
Sir, - I read Nuala Haughey's article on the drug trade in west Dublin (March 1st) with mixed feelings. While on the one hand I am glad to see attention drawn to the problems of drug addiction and drug-dealing, I wonder what impact such an article will have on the people, like myself, who live in Cherry Orchard. It is not pleasant to see your local community described as "the land of the living dead", in an article which is almost totally negative.
Cherry Orchard is not the "land of the living dead". It is inhabited by (mostly) quite ordinary people who, within the limits of generally modest incomes, live quite fulfilling lives. The area, for a variety-of reasons, lacks many facilities which other areas take for granted, and bad planning has contributed to some problems such as "flytipping" and stray horses.
Yet Cherry Orchard has one of the best community development councils in Dublin, and is currently negotiating many improvements and projects to enhance the area. It has a well managed community centre, and an adult education centre which is the envy of other communities. There has been excellent development of sporting talent in the area, especially in soccer and swimming.
Cherry Orchard, in common with most other urban communities, does have a drug problem. At the moment, as drug dealers switch their trade from place to place, it is Cherry Orchard's turn. Next year, it will be somewhere else's. Local parents are very concerned about the drug problem. The so called "lack of community activism" is not due to fear of drug dealers, but is based on a policy of close co operation with the Garda, who are having major success in combating dealing in the area. For the moment the community is prepared to let the Garda, whose job it is, handle the problem.
We would appreciate Irish Times articles that were more sensitive to residents' feeling. And by the way, could The Irish Times come up with a photograph of somewhere else in Cherry Orchard rather than the boarded up houses in Gallanstown Lawns? They are welcome to come and take a photograph of my own house at any time. - Yours, etc.,
LINK Community Development Project,
Nuala Haughey writes: The comparison of life in parts of Cherry Orchard to a scene from the film The Night of the Living Dead was, as the article made clear, not mine. It was made by a resident of Cherry Orchard Avenue, who also described drug addicts in the area as "zombies".