New inspector to be appointed in drug injection centre case

An Bord Pleanála reconsidering planning application for Merchant’s Quay facility

St Audeon’s primary school, which is just 150 metres from the planned drug injection centre,  claimed it  would worsen the already serious problems  in the area. Photograph: iStock

St Audeon’s primary school, which is just 150 metres from the planned drug injection centre, claimed it would worsen the already serious problems in the area. Photograph: iStock

 

An Bord Pleanála is to appoint a new inspector as part of its reconsideration of a planning application for Ireland’s first medically supervised heroin injection facility at Merchant’s Quay in Dublin, the High Court heard.

Last July, the court quashed permission for the facility following a challenge from the board of management of the neighbouring St Audeon’s primary school.

In his July judgment, Mr Justice Garrett Simons said none of the school’s objections were addressed, in terms, by the board in its decision. He also said the board had failed to explain why it had decided to grant temporary permission for the facility for three years in circumstances where its own inspector had recommended two years.

The judge ordered the matter be remitted to the board for reconsideration.

The matter was back before the judge on Monday for final orders when Aoife Carroll BL, for An Bord Pleanála, said the board does not intend to apply for leave to appeal.

As part of the court order quashing the planning permission and referring it back to the board, a new inspector is to be appointed to deal with the matter, counsel said.

Mr Justice Simons made the order quashing the decision and noted that a new inspector is to be appointed. He awarded St Audeon’s its costs against the board while Merchant’s Quay Ireland, which was a notice party in the case, is to pay its own costs.

Merchant’s Quay currently provides medical services and needle exchange for drug users among other things.

Under this new development, a medically supervised heroin injection facility would be set up in a basement area of the existing Riverbank Centre premises providing booths where users can inject themselves and remain for some 30 minutes afterwards. The heroin is not to be supplied by the centre.

St Audeon’s, which is just 150 metres from the premises, claimed an injection facility would worsen the already serious problems including drug users congregating in the area, engaging in drug buying and selling, overdosing and other anti-social behaviour.

The board and Merchant’s Quay opposed the legal challenge.