Bush warfare

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Anti-social behaviour is and always has been a problem in city parks. For centuries, there have been spaces where people gather to get up to no good, and in these modern times, with green space at a premium, parks in cities are a magnet for drinkers, vandals, drug addicts and unsupervised youths.

One of the issues causing unrest among some of the park-using citizens of Dublin 4 is urination, of the public kind. With the closure of almost every public toilet in Dublin, the options are few for someone caught short in the city centre, let alone in the middle of Herbert Park. Some are left with no option but to ‘nip behind a bush’.

In this regard, individuals or groups drinking booze are one of the things that have the greatest knock-on effect for the park itself. Ranelagh Park in Dublin 6 came up with an interesting way to deal with the problem of people using bushes as toilets – they got rid of the bushes. There were constant complaints by mothers of small children about drunks and other undesirables using the greenery.

The cutting back of bushes and large shrubs in Dublin parks is now policy but this is not just to curb the anti-social behaviour, the planting of hedgerows in parks is something that was never clearly thought out and many of the species used are unsuitable for their environment. Dublin City Council are addressing this by removing and replanting with specimens that will be easier to maintain and provide less cover for those that plan to sneak behind them. All we need now is for DCC to address the problem of there being no toilets whatsoever for drunk and sober park users alike.

By Steve Kingston