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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 4 August, 2020
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'This will save lives': Planning permission granted for Ireland's first injecting centre

The charity was refused planning permission by Dublin City Council in July.

Image: Rollingnews

AN BORD PLEANÁLA has granted planning permission for Ireland’s first supervised injecting facility in Dublin city centre.

Plans to build a medically supervised injecting facility (MSIF) at Merchants Quay Ireland’s Riverbank Centre on the city’s south quays have been in the works for over three years. 

In July, the council refused planning permission for the addiction and homelessness charity to build the MSIF following fierce resistance from local businesses and residents and the nearby St Audoen’s National School.

In total, 99 objections were lodged against the plan including a number from hotels and restaurants in the area over concerns that the MSIF would contribute to a decline in tourists and trade.

On appeal, An Bord Pleanála today approved MQI’s planning application to build the centre, consisting of seven injecting rooms where drug users can go to inject drugs under the supervision of a medical professional.

Over 120 such facilities exist in countries across the world, including Australia and Canada. The 2016 Programme for Government contains a commitment to open an MSIF and laws were passed in 2017 allowing for such centres to open and be run legally. 

Welcoming the decision, Merchants Quay Ireland said the 18-month pilot MSIF will allow them to reach people who are currently isolated and vulnerable, offering them vital healthcare and treatment options.

“With one death every day in Ireland from a drug overdose, this facility will save lives.”

We understand that there are concerns from members of the local community, and we will work closely with them and all stakeholders as the project progresses to ensure that this facility benefits everyone.

As part of the application, An Bord Pleanála has requested MQI relocate its night café service “to reduce the scale and extent of services provided on the subject site”.  

Minister for Health Simon Harris tweeted in support of the decision and said it’s time “we all get serious about tackling addiction issues in our country”.

Tweet by @Simon Harris TD Source: Simon Harris TD/Twitter

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Adam Daly

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