Naked display at Limerick monument highlights need for help

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The fountain at St John's Square.

A COMMUNITY leader has called for action to help people who are struggling with addiction after a person was seen, naked from the waist down, staggering around a historic city monument which has become synonymous with street drinking and drug taking.

Chairperson of the Garryowen Residents Association John Nugent told the Limerick Post that the fountain in Saint John’s Square that was built in 1865 as a source of water for the inhabitants of Saint John’s Parish “has become synonymous with street drinking, drug use and other nefarious activities.”

He said that here are essentially two issues that need highlighting.

“The situation makes it uncomfortable for people going to or coming from Saint John’s Cathederal and Saint John’s Hospital, the area is also part of a school run.

“Around 3pm last Friday, people witnessed an individual naked from the waist down stumbling on the footpath and the road due to what they believe to be intoxication.

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“A lot of comments were passed but the one that stuck out was that the person needs help. What this individual and others desperately need are supports tailored to their individual needs, the position they find themselves in should be viewed as a stage in their lives that they can move on from.”

Mr Nugent  added that “we all must advocate for change in social policy, change that will have a real impact. Recovery pathways must be prioritised, pathways that reduce harm to both the individuals and society.

“A return to wellness is a win for the people who have slipped in some way in their lives, a win for their families and a win for our city.”

The Residents’ Chairman said that while the issue unfolding at the fountain is distressing for people who witness anti-social behaviour or are intimidated by it, “I wholeheartedly believes the issues faced by those in a spiral of homelessness and addiction are solvable, that people can and do achieve wellness with the right supports .

“But it’ll be down to organisations who struggle for funding and the amazing voluntary groups here in our city while public representatives oblivious to life outside their cosy meeting rooms.”