Dublin injecting centre ‘will deal in death’, councillor says

Independent Mannix Flynn tells meeting that the planned facility will ‘kill communities’

April 13th, 2016: On the streets: The detritus, human and otherwise, of open drug injecting is visible across Dublin city centre on any morning

 

A supervised injecting centre which is expected to open in Dublin city early next year will “deal in death” and facilitate more drug use, a meeting to discuss the plan heard on Tuesday.

The pilot injecting centre would offer a supervised and controlled environment for heroin addicts with the aim of reducing harm, as well as the number of deaths from overdoses.

At the meeting, members of the city’s business and local communities expressed concern at the planned facility, whose location has not yet been decided.

Those opposed to the centre said it marked the wrong approach to harm reduction policy and lamented what they perceived as a complete absence of community consultation on the project.

Dublin city councillor Mannix Flynn said the views of professionals working in the area of addiction treatment on the project were conspicuously absent.

“What [injection facilities] are actually delivering is death. What these rooms should be known as is rejection rooms. And they are going to kill communities,” he said.

“Every person who can’t get heroin in the future will know where the heroin will be. They will head to the injection room.”

Fellow Independent councillor Cieran Perry said the plan did not involve a debate, but was “an imposition of a viewpoint from the establishment”.

He said local communities have not had the opportunity to give their input.

According to the Department of Health, the legislation for the centre is at an advanced stage.

“It is envisaged that initially one supervised injecting facility would be established on a pilot basis in Dublin city centre during 2017,” it said.

The department said that, if the legislation passed, the centre would likely open next spring.

Organisers

Tuesday’s meeting was organised by the Temple Bar Company (TBC), which represents businesses in that area, the Licensed Vintners Association, the Restaurant Association of Ireland and Aisling Group International, which works in the area of drug and alcohol abuse.

Martin Harte, TBC chief executive, said the event was not about protesting the opening of a facility in one particular location, but about fostering an inclusive debate on the concept.

Erik Leijonnmarck, secretary general of European Cities Against Drugs, cautioned against adopting liberal attitudes in drug policy.

He said the issue of drug addiction should be tackled through the triumvirate approach of prevention, treatment and enforcement.

“I would say that the drug injection room isn’t really treatment, it might be a mitigation of the harm but it is not actually treating [people],” he said.

However, Neil Forsyth, of the homeless charity Focus Ireland, said that while nobody would see an injecting facility as a “solution”, the issue was not black and white and a range of approaches was required.