Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Child rushed to A&E in used needle scare

Urgent medical attention was sought for a child who inadvertently handled a used needle found discarded in an area frequented by children in Bessbrook.

The communal green space is located between Acorn Hill and Dobson’s Way housing developments and the find has prompted concern that the area is being used as dumping ground by illegal drug abusers.

On Tuesday it was reported that used needles and associated equipment were discovered by children playing on the green, one of whom sustained a needle prick, having picked up a used needle.  In fear of the potential health implications, the child was rushed to Daisy Hill hospital’s emergency department where he received medical treatment.

The find has horrified local parents and prompted an angry reaction from those fearful for the safety of their children.

The area’s Sinn Fein councillor Roisin Mulgrew described the incident as “extremely alarming”.

She said: “As a community we want our children to experience the freedom of the summer holidays and the brighter nights and I share the revulsion of the entire community and condemn totally the reckless actions of those who show little regard for the safety of others.

“It is particularly concerning to hear that a child has been taken to A&E after handling the items which were so callously discarded.

“I have spoken to a number of parents who have expressed disappointment at the response from PSNI when contacted.  I intend to raise these issues with the PSNI and also to request that the [Council’s] Environmental Health Department investigate and organise a thorough clean up of the area.”

Urging parents to advise their children not to touch anything they find while playing outside, she condemned those who participate in the use of illegal drugs. 

“Communities cannot accept this type of activity. It is criminal, harmful to the individuals involved and ultimately the whole community.  In particular the dealers, those who peddle this culture of death and destruction within our communities have to be apprehended and face the full rigours of the law”.

The PSNI is investigating the incident.