By Gordon Deegan
The injecting centre for chronic heroin and cocaine addicts planned for Dublin’s inner city will result in a rise in crime in the area and will have a negative impact on tourism and business in the capital.
That is according to the chief executive of the Licensed Vintners' Association (LVA), Donall O’Keeffe who has lodged a strenuous objection with Dublin City Council against the plan on behalf of his members.
Last month, plans were lodged for the redevelopment of Merchant’s Quay existing Riverbank building at 13/14 Merchants Quay, Dublin 8 and it will include the medically supervised seven injecting rooms.
Drug addicts will be allowed bring their drugs to the centre where they can safely inject and the centre is expected around 60 addicts each day.
However, in the LVA objection, Mr O’Keeffe stated that the LVA’s specific objections include “the negative impact on the licensed trade, hospitality and tourism sectors as the proposed facility is 270m from Christchurch Cathedral, 300 from Dublinia, 600m from Dublin Castle and 700 Temple Bar Square.
Mr O’Keeffe said that Temple Bar has a footfall of 22 million people annually and the LVA’s objections also include “negative impact on perceptions of safety in a critical tourism area, damaging the image and reputation of the city”.
Mr O’Keeffe also pointed out that the planned injecting centre is in “very close proximity to the local national school - St Audeons, just 300m away”
He said: “It has 200 pupils who do not need to be further exposed to the problems of drug addiction”.
Mr O’Keeffe stated that it is also concerned that the planned injecting centre “is close to the Central Business District of our capital city. It simply makes no sense to locate such a facility so close to extensive business and tourism venues”.
Mr O’Keeffe pointed out that “it can be expected that public order and anti-social behaviour problems in the vicinity will increase. Crime - particularly - theft can be expected to rise in the area.”
The LVA ceo stated that “as drug consumption will be legal in the facility itself, it is likely to lead to “a honey pot” effect whereby both dealers and addicts will congregate in the area”.
He said: “This will inevitably lead to more problems.”
“There will certainly be public order issues and it will prove detrimental to the residents, the national school and businesses alike.”
Mr O’Keeffe said that the proposed hours of opening from 6am to 9/10pm daily will cause severe impacts to residents, businesses and the local national school”
Many of Mr O’Keeffe’s claims are rejected in the planning documentation lodged with the proposal.
The ‘Operations Plan’ states evidence does not support concerns that injecting facilities encourage drug use, delay treatment entry or aggravate problems with local drug markets.
The plan states: “Instead, they facilitate safer drug use, increase access to health and social services and reduce public drug use and associated nuisance.”
It adds that these services do not result in higher rates of drug related crime.
A decision is due on the application next month