Niall O'Shea

Great Turnout for Community Festival

Niall O'Shea

Local singer-songwriter Niall O’Shea performing at the event

There was a great turnout for our community festival at the plaza in Ballymun on Saturday, with approximately 500 people attending the event over the course of the afternoon.  With free face-painting and entertainment from the clown Janey Mac on offer for younger members of the audience – and a fantastic line-up of performers on the main stage – the day was hugely enjoyable, with a great atmosphere throughout.

We would like to thank the local Gardaí, Dublin City Council, Ballymun Regeneration Ltd. and axis Ballymun for their cooperation and assistance in relation to this event.  We would also like to thank all those who came along on the day and, in particular, all those who took part, performed and helped to make the day a success!

Stage Times for Community Festival Tomorrow

The stage times for our community festival, taking place tomorrow at the plaza in Ballymun, have now been confirmed.  Christy Dignam and Joe Jewell from Aslan will open the event at 12 noon.  They will be followed on-stage by a whole host of performers, all of whom have strong links to Ballymun.  With samba, rock, hip-hop, rap, R’n’B and lots more on offer, there should be something to please everyone!  The event will be MCed by well-known local stand-up comedians, Dean Scurry and Eric Lalor.  Free facepainting will also be on offer, as well as children’s entertainment, with a clown wandering around the venue to keep younger members of the audience amused.

To see the times at which all acts will perform, please click here.

PLEASE NOTE: This event is open to the public, free of charge.  This is a family-focused event, and a strict ‘no alcohol’ policy will be enforced.

Conference

Great Response to the Issues Raised at our Conference

We were delighted with the media coverage from our conference ‘Seen but Not Heard?’, which was held in Dublin Castle on Wednesday 23rd March.

The issues raised at the conference resulted in a constructive debate in the media about the effects of inter-generational drug use.  In addition to this, there was a number of tweets using the conference hash tag #byapconf.

We have no doubt that the dialogue on the key issues will continue and hope it is undertaken in a constructive manner.

We’ve also received really positive feedback from people who attended the event, which we were delighted to get!  Thanks so much to all those who came along and shared their views and, in particular, to the speakers and special guests.

Intergenerational Drug Use Apparent in Communities Throughout Ireland

PRESS RELEASE

Wednesday, 23rd March, 2011

Intergenerational Drug Use Apparent in Communities Throughout Ireland

Three generations of families in some communities in Ireland have now been affected by drug misuse.  That’s according to Ballymun Youth Action Project (BYAP), the country’s longest-running community drugs project.

BYAP was founded by local people in 1981 in response to the drug-related deaths of three young people in Ballymun.  Over the past three decades, the Project has offered a community-based response to drug and alcohol misuse.  It has also widened the geographical reach of its work to provide training and support to drugs projects throughout the Greater Dublin region and the rest of Ireland.

Speaking at a conference today (23.03.11) organised as part of a series of events to mark BYAP’s 30th anniversary, Dermot King, Director of the organisation, said intergenerational drug use was now apparent in many communities.

“We have witnessed an intergenerational pattern of drug misuse within some families in Ballymun, and similar patterns are being reported in other communities,” he said.  “In some cases, we are now treating the grandchildren of people who attended our service when it was first established 30 years ago.

“Some communities in Ireland have become caught in a vicious cycle of addiction.  Drug and alcohol problems are being passed down through different generations of the same families.

“This has far-reaching implications, not just for the individual families concerned, but for entire communities.  Linked to an intergenerational cycle of drug misuse are problems such as increased incidences of criminal activity, physical degeneration of neighbourhoods, unemployment, poverty and ill-health.  As such, even those families who avoid substance misuse can suffer as a result of high levels of drug use in their local area.

“Community projects like ours are well-placed to respond to the complex problem of intergenerational drug use because we are working at the coalface.  However, we need the support of the Government and of statutory organisations working at national level to ensure a coherent response to this problem is offered.”

Mr. King called on the new Government to recognise the vital role played by community-based drugs projects.

“Successive governments have quite rightly listened to the voices of academics and statutory agencies when planning their response to drugs-related problems,” he said.  “However, the Government must not ignore the very important voice of communities, who know what is needed on the ground to support those who misuse drugs and to prevent our young people from following in their footsteps.

“Research backs up the call for community voices to be put at the forefront of finding a solution: successive reports, going back as far as the Bradshaw Report in 1983, have called for communities to be consulted with fully and to be central to any proposed solutions.  But, to date, despite good intentions from all political parties, we have had little more than cosmetic engagement with those of us on the ground delivering a community response.”

According to Mr. King, different trends in substance misuse have been evident over the lifetime of Ballymun Youth Action Project.

“When BYAP was founded 30 years ago, the worst of the heroin epidemic had yet to arrive here, but other drugs and alcohol were taking away young lives, and our first priority was to help those affected and to educate our community about these drugs,” he said.  “Then heroin arrived and made things worse.  That situation changed when methadone was introduced, but the problems didn’t just ‘go away’.

“Now, heroin is less prevalent, but people are seeking help due to their use of prescription drugs or head-shop substances.  In some cases, these people find it hard to acknowledge they have a problem because they do not view the substances they use as ‘hard-core’ drugs.

“Another problem in some areas is a normalisation of certain drugs.  Many young people we work with do not view smoking cannabis, for example, as drug use: they feel it is only wrong to use drugs like cocaine or heroin, but that smoking a joint is fine.  This is a perception that we work constantly to challenge.

“We have been working in Ballymun – and supporting the work of similar projects in other communities – for 30 years now, and we feel we are well placed to respond to changing trends and ensure we continue to meet the needs of local communities.”

Today’s conference on substance misuse is taking place in Dublin Castle.  In addition to Mr. King, other speakers at the event include: John Lonergan, former Governor of Mountjoy Prison; Professor Joe Barry, Head of the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at Trinity College Dublin; and Dr. Mary Ellen McCann, Vice-Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Drugs.  A panel of journalists will discuss the media’s treatment of drug use during the event.  The full schedule for the event is available at: http://www.byap.ie/30th-anniversary/conference.

ENDS

Contact: Dermot Ryan / Noomi Egan DHR Communications Tel: 01-4885808 / 086-6002306 / 087-7449915