Dublin canal bridge flooded to discourage homeless people from using it

Waterways Ireland says anyone sleeping under the bridge was "at serious risk" of falling or drowning

Dublin canal bridge flooded to discourage homeless people from using it

File photo of Royal Canal in Dublin. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Updated 17.45

It’s emerged a bridge at the Royal Canal in Dublin has been flooded to discourage homeless people from using it.

Rough sleepers use Binns Bridge on Dorset Street for shelter and somewhere to stay.

Waterways Ireland is defending raising the water level, saying it’s to prevent drug use and public defecation.

In a statement about the move - which was originally reported by the Dublin Inquirer earlier this month - Waterways Ireland said: "The canal is an operational navigation. Waterways Ireland staff and members of the public operate the lock and we must provide a safe environment for them to work in." 

Waterways Ireland also says that homeless people were at risk, explaining: "Any homeless people sleeping under the bridge were at serious risk of a significant fall and drowning hazard in the deep lock chamber.

"All the alternative solutions we have tried to maintain public safety in the area, including fencing it off, have failed."

Inner City Helping Homeless volunteer Padraig Drummond, meanwhile, criticised the efforts to remove homeless people from the canal area - saying eviction notices were put on tents a few months ago.

Padraig - whose volunteer group go to the Royal Canal between 12 and 2 every night to give out soup and check on everyone - argued: "[It's] absolutely crazy carry on in this day and age - the people need help to be rehoused, not pushed into another area. That's all it's going to do - push them further down.

"It's achieving nothing - it's not solving any issues whatsoever. It's just pushing homelessness into another neighbourhood."