30th Anniversary of Ireland’s Longest-Running Community Drugs Project

PRESS RELEASE

 

Monday, 28th November 2011

30th Anniversary of Ireland’s Longest-Running Community Drugs Project

– BYAP launches Research Reports –

 

Ireland’s longest-running community drugs project today (28.11.11) launched two reports on substance misuse to mark the final event of the celebrations that have marked its 30th year.   According to Ballymun Youth Action Project (BYAP) these reports can make significant contributions to our understanding of the current drug situation as it affects local communities.

BYAP was founded by local people in 1981 after three young people from Ballymun had died from drugs-related causes.  Over the past 30 years, the Project has offered a community-based response to drug and alcohol misuse.

During today’s event, BYAP launched two reports produced as part of its 30th celebrations: ‘Seen but not Heard? – Thirty Years of Communities Responding to Drugs’ and ‘Fact or Fiction – A Study of Attitudes to Alcohol and Related Issues among Young People in the Ballymun Area’.  The first report presents the findings of a conference on substance misuse which took place in Dublin Castle in March of this year. The second report highlights young people’s attitudes to drugs and alcohol related issues and offers a detailed picture of their experiences that helps to ‘personalise’ the much larger general surveys that are the norm for research in Ireland.

According to Dermot King, Director of BYAP, the two reports can make significant contributions to our understanding of the current drug situation as it affects local communities.

“Taken together, the two reports launched today offer a range of important insights into the drugs problem in Ireland today. In particular, the conference report highlights how drug use affects local communities and captures the experience of practitioners, academics and media professionals. It outlines how substance misuse has changed over the decades and highlights the need for statutory, voluntary and community sectors to work together in order to offer a holistic, more joined-up approach to the drugs problem.

“We believe that these two reports can contribute to an increased understanding of the drugs problem in Ireland today. They offer a snapshot of the main issues affecting local communities and, as such, can serve as a resource for policy makers, academics and social workers.”

Today’s anniversary event marked the culmination of a programme of activities organised to mark the 30th year of BYAP and to highlight the important work done by local communities in battling substance misuse.

“Ballymun Youth Action Project was founded at a time when heroin had begun to ravage entire communities, and Ireland was in the midst of a crippling recession,” said Mr. King.  “We were the first project of our kind in Ireland: founded by members of the local community to deal directly with local problems caused by drug and alcohol misuse.

“Over the years, we’ve seen the nature of addiction issues change and new issues have emerged as time has passed.  Because we’re grounded in the local community, we’re able to respond quickly to changing issues and reach out to people who may be wary of accessing support.

“We offer services to all ages, and we do outreach work in schools and prisons. In addition to helping drug users, we also provide support services for their families.  We have a strong focus on allowing people to make changes in their lives rather than staying stuck, and we strongly support the community in their work of prevention and intervention as responses to drugs and alcohol use.

“Like many communities, we are very concerned about the current economic situation in Ireland,” said Mr. King.  “There is a very real risk that frontline services provided within local communities will be lost.  This would be a tragedy for communities, and those affected by drug misuse.  Our experience has shown that community responses can play a vital role in tackling the drugs and alcohol problem in Ireland.

“The voice that comes from within communities affected by drugs and alcohol will continue to provide crucial insight and understanding in how to deal with these issues,” said Mr. King.  “We hope that our continued work will be further testimony to that truth.”

The reports, ‘Seen but not Heard? – Thirty Years of Communities Responding to Drugs’ and ‘Fact or Fiction – A Study of Attitudes to Alcohol and Related Issues among Young People in the Ballymun Area’ can be downloaded at: http://wp.me/p1v028-fL.

 

ENDS

 

NEAR FM Podcast of Interviews from our Community Festival

NEAR FM atteneded our Community Festival on March 26th at the Plaza in Ballymun. While they were there they recorded interviews with our Director Dermot King as well as some of the artists performing at the event. NEAR FM have now posted a podcast of the interviews which can be found here. Amongst the artists featured in the podcast are Colm Quearney, who helped programme the festival and hip-hop group Street Literature.

Festival

Photos from our 30th Anniversary Events

Here is a small selection of photographs from our 30th anniversary events.  There are also hundreds of photographs uploaded to our Facebook page.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who got involved in our events, helped in their organisation, and came along and offered their support.

Dean Scurry

Dean Scurry – one of the artists whose work featured in the ‘BYAP 30 Years’ art exhibition – pictured with his painting ‘Bloke’ at the launch of our 30th anniversary programme of events

Mairead and Ann Marie

BYAP staff members Mairead Kavanagh and Ann Marie Hughes pictured at the launch of the 30th anniversary programme of events, alongside artwork produced by BYAP clients

Public Artwork

The artwork developed by BYAP clients – working with local artist John Duffy, axis Ballymun and facilitator Dean Scurry – as a result of the public art project organised as part of the 30th anniversary events

Public Art Project Participants

Participants in the public art project organised as part of our programme of 30th anniversary events

Local School Children

Local school-children warming up in advance of their performance for President Mary McAleese during her visit to BYAP’s premises

President McAleese Arriving

President McAleese arriving at BYAP’s premises. Gina Quinn and BYAP’s Chairperson, Joe Merry, accompany her indoors.

Rose-planting

President McAleese helps to plant a rose-bush, which will grow in our courtyard to commemorate all those with links to BYAP who have died over the past 30 years

President McAleese Exhibtion

President McAleese is given a tour of the ‘BYAP 30 Years’ art exhibition by one of the exhibition curators, local artist John Duffy

President McAleese and Community

President McAleese meets members of the local community at the opening event

President McAleese & Clients

President McAleese meets members of the local community at the opening event

Owen O'Grady

Owen O’Grady presents President McAleese with a bouquet of flowers at the opening event

Paddy Kavanagh & Fiona Ginnell

Artists Paddy Kavanagh and Fiona Ginnell, whose work was included in the ‘BYAP 30 Years’ exhibition, pictured at the exhibition opening event

Exhibition Curators

Exhibition curators John Duffy and Guggi pictured at the opening event, along with John’s daughter, Erin

John Lyons & Dessie Ellis

Local TDs John Lyons and Dessie Ellis pictured at the opening event

Exhibition Curators

Exhibition curators John Duffy and Guggi pictured with ‘My Man Bob’ by Christy, a BYAP client, at the art exhibition opening event

Conference Speakers

Peter Cassells, conference Chair; John Lonergan, former Governor of Mountjoy; Sunniva Finlay, Manager of Ballyfermot STAR; and Joe Merry, Chairperson of BYAP, pictured in Dublin Castle for our conference on substance misuse

Peter McVerry

Fr. Peter McVerry speaking at our conference on substance misuse, which was held in Dublin Castle and took place as part of our 30th anniversary programme of events

Conference delegates

Delegates at the conference

Conference speakers

Conference speakers Joe Merry, Chairperson of BYAP; Fr. Peter McVerry; Professor Joe Barry; Dr. Mary Ellen McCann; and Chris Flood

Festival

Enjoying the community festival, held at the plaza in Ballymun as part of our 30th anniversary programme of events

Street Literature

Street Literature performing at our community festival

Festival

Local children enjoying the free face-painting and balloon art

Festival 2

Listening to the performances on the main stage

NEAR FM

Our Director, Dermot King (on the right), being interviewed by NEAR FM at the event

The Unknown

The lead singer of The Unknown pictured during their performance at the community festival

Garry O'Brien

Local singer-songwriter Garry O’Brien performing at the community festival

(Photographs by Marc O’Sullivan, www.marcosullivan.ie).