Charity to appeal rejection of plan for supervised injection centre in Dublin

Merchants Quay Ireland says society has a duty to protect most vulnerable citizens

The Government approved legislation to exempt drug users from possession charges in designated facilities back in February 2017, however, plans to open an injection centre have been delayed. File photograph: Thinkstock

The Government approved legislation to exempt drug users from possession charges in designated facilities back in February 2017, however, plans to open an injection centre have been delayed. File photograph: Thinkstock

 

Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) has said it will appeal a decision to block the opening of the country’s first supervised injection centre in Dublin 8.

The drug addiction charity had sought permission to redevelop part of its existing building on the quays to create seven injecting booths at basement level. It would have catered for up to 100 drug users per day.

The Government approved legislation to exempt drug users from possession charges in designated facilities back in February 2017, however, plans to open an injection centre have been delayed.

In its decision, Dublin City Council said the proposed development would “undermine the existing local economy, in particular the growing tourism economy”.

Opening the centre would have a negative impact on local residents, and “hinder the future regeneration of the area”, it said.

A large number of local businesses and politicians opposed the planned facility, which would be located in the Liberties area.

A spokesman said MQI has decided to lodge an appeal with An Bord Pleanála regarding planning permission for a medically supervised injecting facility.

“Extensive international evidence clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of injecting facilities. These facilities have been repeatedly shown to support people in addiction and on into treatment, as well as reduce public injecting and drug-related litter,” said the spokesman.

“Two out of every three injecting deaths in Ireland occur in Dublin city. These fatalities are more than statistics – they are the tragic loss of someone’s brother, mother, neighbour or friend. We have a duty as a society to protect our most marginalised and vulnerable citizens,” he said.

He said MQI will continue to engage with the Department of Health, HSE, and Dublin City Council to progress the appeal.