Senator Lynn Ryane, Paul Murphy blast Paul Kehoe's "disgusting … –

Senator Lynn Ruane says Deputy Kehoe should be focusing on the welfare of people with drug dependencies in Dublin over tourists.
Senator Lynn Ruane, People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy and others in the Oireachtas have blasted Paul Kehoe TD’s “disgusting” comments about drug dependent people in Dublin city centre.
Wexford TD for Fine Gael, Paul Kehoe said he “wouldn’t send a tourist to O’Connell Street” because it is “full of druggies, crime, anti-social behaviour, robberies, take-aways, alcohol”.
Kehoe made the comments in the Dáil yesterday ahead of an RTÉ Prime Time programme broadcast last night that focused on the street, which he said he was “delighted” to hear about. He commented that he is “ashamed of the street as an Irish person”.
Kehoe has since told South East Radio that he stands over his use of the word “druggies” even though “the PC brigade” don’t like it. He remarked that people should be able to feel safe walking up and down O’Connell Street.
Fine Gael TD @campaign4kehoe says he’s ashamed of O’Connell street, wouldn’t send any tourists down there and it’s full of ‘druggies, crime, alcohol, takeaways’
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) October 18, 2022

Ironic, given Fine Gael TDs consistently vote against safe injection centres and the Government is responsible for the gross inaction on housing and homelessness facilities. Permission for an injection centre was refused by Dublin City Council in 2019, before being quashed again in the High Court after that initial decision was overturned by An Bord Pleanála.
“This is your governing party which gives out about ‘populism’ but refers to ‘the PC brigade’ after being criticised for calling people suffering from drug addiction ‘druggies’,” Paul Murphy TD responded via Twitter.
Senator Lynn Ruane, a frequent activist on drug issues, has said that Kehoe should be more concerned about people with drug dependencies than tourists.
Speaking to The Journal, Senator Lynn Ruane said Deputy Kehoe’s comments “lack any sort of humanity”.
“What do we need in Dublin city to be able to better help and support people who are on the streets with a drug dependency? If that’s not your first thought as a policy maker, and your first thought is to look at it through the lens of a tourist, I would call on him to reflect on that. I would call on him to ask himself why he would be ashamed to send tourists there, rather than feel absolutely ashamed of all the policy makers for creating conditions in which people are clearly struggling.”
“It lacks any sort of humanity if the first thing you think of is the commercialisation of a city or a street,” Ruane posited. “In calling someone a name that doesn’t put them as a person first. It is a way to dehumanise people and then it becomes ‘them over there’. As if they’re not part of our community, part of our Dublin, that somehow they’re something else there.”
“It’s an awful shame that politicians that are around the block as long as he is will blame individuals for how something looks instead of actually being a policy maker and addressing the policies and legislation which creates the conditions for how people live,” Senator Ruane said.
She queried the need for an RTÉ Prime Time programme “about how bad a street is, instead of how bad the conditions are that led to that”.
Senator Ruane has long supported the bid for a safe injection centre in Dublin.
Drug injection centres provide access to clean, sterile injecting equipment for drug users, in a bid to help reduce drug-related illnesses and deaths and give the users access to medical and social. Trained staff are on hand to provide emergency care in the event of an overdose.


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