30th Anniversary of Ireland’s Longest-Running Community Drugs Project
– Ballymun Youth Action Project Announces Anniversary Programme of Events –
Ireland’s longest-running community drugs project today (10.03.11) announced a programme of events to mark its 30th year. A major national conference on substance misuse; an innovative art exhibition; and a community festival are amongst the activities being organised by the Ballymun Youth Action Project (BYAP) over the coming weeks.
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.
According to Dermot King, Director of the organisation, BYAP’s anniversary programme of events has been organised 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, and we do lots of preventative and education-focused work.”
The anniversary programme of events announced today by BYAP includes:
- A rose-planting ceremony commemorating those with links to the Project who have died over the past 30 years.
- A visit by President Mary McAleese to BYAP’s premises on Friday, 11th March, at 2.30pm.
- A major national conference on substance misuse, taking place in Dublin Castle on Wednesday, 23rd March, and featuring inputs from 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.
- ‘BYAP 30 Years’: an exhibition curated by acclaimed artists Guggi and Ballymun local John Duffy, featuring work by artists with links to Ballymun, including Rita Cahill, Bob Dixon, Stuart Dowie, Mick Gerrighty, Fiona Ginnell, Paddy Kavanagh, Cecilia Moore, Maria Place, Edith Poole, Frank Scalzo, Dean Scurry, the late Tom Shannon, Ray Sherlock, Stano and Long Weng. The exhibition will run from Friday 11th March until Saturday, 26th March at the Horizons Centre, Balcurris Road, Ballymun. Artwork produced by BYAP clients over the past 30 years will also be on display.
- A community festival at the plaza in Ballymun on Saturday, 26th March, featuring an exciting line-up of musicians and stand-up comedians, including local singer-songwriters Garry O’Brien, Niall O’Shea and Ciaran Moran; Munch (Ballymun samba band); DeXtra; and other local rappers and musicians.
- The unveiling of a major public art project, specially commissioned to mark the 30th anniversary of BYAP, and developed in recent weeks by artist John Duffy working with BYAP clients. This project was facilitated by axis Ballymun and will be unveiled at BYAP’s premises on Friday, 11th March, at 2.30pm. It will be on display until 25th March as part of the ‘BYAP 30 Years’ art exhibition.
“We’re hoping our 30th anniversary programme of events will highlight the important work done not only by BYAP, but by community groups throughout Ireland, in tackling drug and alcohol addiction,” said Dermot King. “All the events we’re organising are open to the public, free of charge, and anyone is welcome to visit our centre over the coming weeks, to view the exhibition and public art project, or come along to the community festival at the end of the month.”
Contact: Dermot Ryan / Martina Quinn, DHR Communications, Tel: 01-4885808 / 086-6002306 / 087-6522033