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Dublin: 8°C Thursday 17 June 2021

Injection centres could soon arrive in Dublin - would you agree with that?

Minister of State Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has said he will be attempting to bring forward legislation to introduce them this year.

A drug user prepares a syringe as a staff member watches, at a supervised injection site in central Athens.
A drug user prepares a syringe as a staff member watches, at a supervised injection site in central Athens.
Image: Petros Giannakouris/AP/PA

IRELAND’S MINISTER OF State with special responsibility for the national drugs strategy has, for the first time, said he is in favour of introducing injection centres in Ireland and expressed his desire to bring forward legislation in this area.

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin had been speaking today at the Better City for All seminar, where he said be believed setting up medically-supervised centres could help alleviate Dublin’s drug problem.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Ó Ríordáin said he has been learning as fast as he can in his role, listening to people running services for drug users as well as the people using the services to gauge how best the government can respond.

Rather than have a ‘move them on’ culture, the minister of state said he wants to see a situation where drug users have a non-judgemental first point of contact that will deter them from shooting up in the street or in stairwells of flat complexes.

Though he can see the point of view of those who say injection centres are a way of facilitating drug use, Ó Ríordáin said it is the “lesser of two evils” as it takes away some of the risk factors for drug users and would help keep the problem off the streets.

Potential concerns about opening injecting centres in residential areas are also being taken on board, he says, with options like mobile services being considered.

“We have a drug problem in Ireland and it’s getting worse. Do we just want to turn our backs when we see people injecting in the street or do we want to offer facilities to help people?”

Acknowledging that he does not have much time left in this job before the next election creeps up, Ó Ríordáin said he is “determined to make a change” and will be attempting to push forward legislation to address the introduction of injection centres before the year is out.

As for the money it will cost, he pointed out that the government has that €1.5 billion to spend, adding: ”If someone can find me a more vulnerable person we should spend money on then a person injecting heroin in an alleyway, then tell me.”

We want to know what you think?: Would you favour the introduction of injection centres in Ireland?

Poll Results:

Yes (3648)
No (1491)
I'm not sure (633)

Read: Ask the expert: ‘Every alley way in Dublin is used for public injecting at some point’>

Read: People are sniffing cheap butane gas to get high on the streets of Dublin>

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