Several premises in Dublin operating 'anti-homeless' sprinklers

Director of Inner City Helping Homeless criticised the move by businesses in the city

The director of Inner City Homelessness Anthony Flynn told Newstalk that he is aware of several premises operating anti-homeless sprinklers.

It comes after reports a tattoo parlour in the city was said to be using the sprinklers at its premises to discourage homeless people.

But Dublin Ink say this was not their intention.

In a statement on their Facebook page, the Temple Bar-based business say: "As of five days ago, the sprinklers were disabled.

"The sprinkler system was not intended to wet homeless people while they were sleeping or to cause any harm, the motion sensor sets the small amount of water out before anybody is able to enter the property or porch.

"This reduces the chances of anybody getting wet, and acts as a deterrent for people using our property for drug use or antisocial behaviour.

"We are extremely cautious of the weather and the device is most certainly not used in a constant manner.

It also claims two of its staff members were held hostage last year, after a man held a blood-filled syringe in an attempt to stab them.

"Every morning, our staff members clean blood smears, used condoms, syringes, and other bodily fluids such as faeces off the premises.

"We have sent petitions to the council and in attempts to contact the right organisations we get passed around from one to the other and the responsibility is continually placed in our hands.

"We would ask you to set aside the brand of the Dublin Ink company. We are a small studio of 11 staff members just like any of you who, at this point, have had to resort to this measure to ensure the safety of not only ourselves but our clientele."

"It is unacceptable"

While Mr Flynn said he knew of several places in Dublin city that used the sprinklers, including a gas company on Capel Street and several buildings on Grafton Street.

Calls to the gas company were not answered at the time of writing.

"It is unacceptable", he said of the sprinkler systems. "But we wouldn't have this problem, if we had better access to services.

"Generally, if you ask someone to move they'll move. It's a cruel thing [the sprinklers]. Business need to have compassion. 

He said that anti-homeless devices like sprinklers affect homeless people, who are at their "lowest in life".

"For a person that's at their lowest in life, it's another thing that tells them that they're not wanted."

Dublin Ink also say they have made "numerous attempts" to contact the City Council, gardaí, Health Service Executive (HSE) and Temple Bar Cultural Trust about the issue.

They say this has "fallen on deaf ears".

Earlier this year, anti-homeless bars were put in place at a building used by the then-Tánaiste Joan Burton.