Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland child taken to A&E after being injured by discarded needle

The discarded drug equipment
The discarded drug equipment

By Christopher Leebody

A child has been taken to A&E as a precaution after being injured by a used needle that appeared to be part of discarded drug equipment.

The incident happened in Bessbrook, in Co Armagh on Tuesday evening, as a group of primary school age children played on a communal green in the Acorn Hill area.

A post on the Bessbrook Community Residents Association Facebook page said "a number of concerned parents" had contacted the group about the discovery and that one of the children had "pricked themselves with one of the used needles". The area is near a housing development linking two parts of the village, which is regularly used by residents and children playing football and other games.

Local Sinn Fein councillor Roisin Mulgrew said she was alerted by a concerned resident.

The councillor told the Belfast Telegraph there had been no previous reports of any such incidents in Acorn Hill but added: "Bessbrook, like every other village is not immune to the issue of drugs."

She said: "We need to work as a collective as we move through into the summer holidays.

"We need to be working together to ensure that the paraphernalia is removed and also to provide good information to parents and children. For those who have addiction issues, to offer them the support they need to stop their habit.

"Discarding material like this in a children's area of play is unforgivable. We want our children to have the freedom to enjoy their childhood. The community is very angry."

The councillor said she had contacted both the PSNI and environmental health department, who have since been out to the site to investigate.

She urged parents to be vigilant. "I urge parents to talk to their children and if they see anything they are not familiar with, to not touch it and get an adult.

"Hopefully environmental health and the PSNI will be organising a joined-up approach as to how we deal with this during the summer months," she added.

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