Drug injection centre gets go-ahead at Merchant’s Quay Ireland

by Rachel Darcy

An Bord Pleanala has granted permission for a controversial supervised injection centre on the quays, overturning a decision made by Dublin City Council in mid-2019.

The ruling was made by the planning board on Christmas Eve, which will now allow Merchant’s Quay Ireland (MQI) to develop the country’s first supervised injection centre at their existing premises.

MQI was initially refused permission for the centre by Dublin City Council, but then went on to appeal this decision to An Bord Pleanala (ABP).

In a statement welcoming the decision, MQI said: “Merchant’s Quay Ireland welcomes the decision to grant planning permission for a Medically Supervised Injecting Facility [MSIF] at our riverbank centre on Merchant’s Quay.

“The MSIF will allow us 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.”

When rejecting the application last July, DCC said that the development would “undermine the existing local economy, in particular the growing tourism economy”.

There were many local objections to the centre, including opposition from the nearby St Audoen’s National School and from local businesses.

News of ABP’s decision was welcomed by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, who has pushed for the development of the project for some time.

In a statement issued on the Department of Health’s Twitter account, Minister Harris said: “This is such great news and will help save lives.

“A supervised injecting facility recognises the reality of addiction and that it is an illness and that behind that illness is a person in need of help.”

On his personal account, Minister Harris said: “We can now proceed with Ireland’s first supervised injection facility and recognise that addiction is an illness. Well done Merchant’s Quay.

“Time we all get serious about tackling addiction issues in our country.”

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