Dublin Simon Community recovery centre gets permission despite school’s objections

A primary school and local residents have failed in their efforts to prevent Dublin Simon Community from securing planning permission for a 70-bed recovery centre for homeless drug addicts and alcoholics at Usher’s Island in the inner city.

The principal and board of management of St Audoen’s National School along with local residents, including a petition signed by 267 people, were some of those to object to the plan.

Dublin Simon already operates a specialist medical residential treatment and recovery centre at the site, including a 39-bed unit. The plan represents a significant expansion of services.

RPS, consultants for Dublin Simon, told the city council that the plan allows for the provision of an increased number of recovery beds “enabling clients to further stabilise and enhance their ongoing recovery”.

It states: “This will reduce relapse rates and costs for repeated admissions to detox units or general hospitals — as well as ultimately reducing antisocial or criminal behaviour related to alcohol and drug use.”

In an objection lodged on behalf of the board of St Audoen’s, principal Eilish Maher told Dublin City Council that the proposal is three times the size of what is already there.

Ms Maher said: “Residential and business communities at Merchants Quay and Usher’s Island are already affected by large addiction services, which cause daily nuisance, antisocial behaviour, intimidation, and often threats of violence.

“This area is being marginalised by the transient nature of said service users, many of whom are not from Dublin 8 — this is hampering the successful development of Dublin 8 and threatens sustainable communities and businesses.

“Why have one major Simon Community facility when the needs are citywide? Why are such facilities not dispersed to include other areas where the issues are just as relevant?

“There is an overemphasis of large crises services in Dublin at the expense of a family-friendly community. The area is over-saturated with community facilities and in particular rehabilitation and detoxification centres.”

Ms Maher points out that the proposal is in very close proximity to St Audoen’s, “with the majority of our students living just metres away from this site”.

“Increasing the volume of addition service users without prior consultation with relevant stakeholders is a breach of society’s child protection responsibilities and primary concerns,” said Ms Maher.


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