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Merchants Quay to appeal injecting centre refusal to An Bord Pleanála

DCC last month refused permission for the the injecting centre.

File photo of a discarded syringe in Dublin's south inner city.
File photo of a discarded syringe in Dublin's south inner city.

A DECISION TO refuse planning permission for Ireland’s first injecting centre in Dublin city will be appealed to An Bord Pleanála. 

Homeless and addiction charity Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) – who applied to Dublin City Council last year to open the injecting centre – announced today that it would appeal the refusal. 

DCC last month refused permission for the injecting centre to be opened and run out of MQI’s Riverbank Centre on Merchants Quay in Dublin’s south inner city. The council said opening the centre would be bad for the area and bad for tourism in the capital. 

A medically supervised injecting facility (MSIF) is a place where drug users can go to inject drugs under the supervision of medical professional. Over 120 such facilities exist in countries across the world, including Australia and Canada. 

Plans for the centre have been in the works for over three years. The 2016 Programme for Government contains a commitment to open such a facility. Laws were also passed in 2017 allowing for such centres to open and be run legally. 

The planning proposal was met with fierce local resistance from local businesses, residents and the nearby St Audoen’s National School, all who objected strongly to its opening and made detailed third-party submissions to council asking that it refuse permission.

Those in favour of it argue it would help save the lives of intravenous drug users, and help to reduce the anti-social behaviour associated with public injecting in the centre. 

Those against the facility argue that the centre would only increase anti-social behaviour in an area already overcome with drug use and dealing.

In a statement today, MQI said it would now lodge an appeal with An Bord Pleanála regarding planning permission for the centre.

“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,” a spokesperson said. 

“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.

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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