An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission for Ireland’s first medically supervised injection facility on Merchant’s Quay.
Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) has welcomed the plans to reconfigure its Riverbank Centre to facilitate the Medically Supervised Injecting Facility (MSIF).
Describing the move as a new chapter in how Ireland treats those in our society who are struggling with drug addiction, The homeless and drugs services said that it will work closely with members of the local community as the project progresses to tackle any concerns.
The permission is for an initial 18 months, following which a review will be undertaken to assess its impact on the local area, such as local schools, community facilities, residents, plus local economy and tourism businesses.
MQI highlighted its commitment to ensure that the facility will benefit everyone, in addition to helping them to reach people who are currently isolated and vulnerable.
“International research shows the vast societal benefits of MSIFs, including decreases in public injecting, drug litter, and most importantly, overdose deaths.
“The MSIF will save lives and we look forward to working together with all stakeholders as we pilot this ground-breaking facility,” said MQI Deputy Head of Clinical Services, Elaine Kehoe.
A client of MQI rehabilitation, who described herself as “one of the lucky ones”, commented on how a medically supervised injection facility will benefit those in addiction.
“I started smoking heroin after my partner died. I just wanted to feel out of my head and when I saw that injecting could numb the pain quicker, I started doing that,” said Cathy.
“I hadn’t been injecting long before I overdosed. I didn’t really know how to use, or that you could put too much in. I was by myself behind one of the big bins in Temple Bar, and I couldn’t really see what I was doing. I was lucky that someone showed up and called an ambulance. If they hadn’t, I’d be dead.
“I’ve a friend who died of an overdose by herself in a tent last year. She was twenty-seven and had two kids. If there had been somewhere for her to go to inject safely, that wouldn’t have happened. An MSIF will save lives; lives like hers, and lives like mine,” she concluded.
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