'This will put vulnerable lives at risk,' says charity after supervised injection facility refused in Dublin

'This will put vulnerable lives at risk,' says charity after supervised injection facility refused in Dublin
File photo.

A plan to set up Ireland's first supervised injection facility in Dublin has been refused by planners.

Dublin City Council planners said there was an "overconcentration of social support services in the Dublin 8 area".

It said the planned facility for heroin users at Merchant's Quay would undermine the local community and efforts to develop tourism there.

The decision chimes with the objections of locals and businesses in the area.

Chief Executive Owen Keegan said the application did not outline how an increase in anti-social behaviour would be managed.

Mr Keegan said: "Serious anti-social behaviour in the area as a consequence of that centre being there attracting people who have major behavioural problems, that would pose a cost on the local community and businesses.

"If you are going to propose it in this area, I think a robust policing plan, a public realm management plan is needed. It is not unreasonable that you would be expected to say 'I can manage and I will manage'."

However, Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) has today said the decision "will put lives at risk".

Paula Byrne, CEO of the national homeless and drugs charity, said: “This decision by Dublin City Council is deeply disappointing. With one person a day in Ireland dying of a drug overdose, it will put vulnerable lives at greater risk.

“In 2016, 736 people in Ireland died from drug-related causes, the fourth-highest rate in Europe, and every indicator suggests that this number is increasing."

“International evidence clearly demonstrates that supervised injecting facilities reduce public injecting, reduce risk of disease transmission, and most importantly, save lives.

“We will review Dublin City Council’s decision and consider our next steps. In the meantime, we will continue to advocate for people in addiction, to ensure that they receive the care they deserve.”

She told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that since the decision was revealed online overnight Merchants Quay Ireland has not had a chance to decide if they will appeal the decision.

“We haven’t got formal notification yet. We haven’t had a chance to discuss with our planners.

“We’ve lost an opportunity to engage with a cohort of people who would benefit from this service.”

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