Govt now must appeal injecting centre decision

26 July 2019

Labour Party Senator, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has said the rejection of planning permission for a drug injecting centre is devastating.

Senator Ó Ríordáin said:

“The news today that planning permission has been rejected for an injecting centre is a huge let down for everyone who has been pushing for this project.

“There has been a clear lack of political interest from Fine Gael in this project. They’ve let this process drag on and allowed their own State agencies, in particular the HSE, to object to the location. It is another classic example of Fine Gael wanting to appear progressive but when it comes to putting policy into practice they fail.

“Fundamentally at the heart of this problem is that the lives that are at stake aren’t important enough. If there was a health crisis that would affect middle Ireland, or even the farming sector, a coordinated government response would be found to deliver on it. Because street heroin users as considered to be powerless, their lives will go to the back of the priority queue.

“There are 88 such Centres across Europe with no evidence to suggest that tourism has been affected in any way whatsoever. The timing of this decision is also telling with Dublin City Council and the Houses of the Oireachtas out of session.

“If Ministers Simon Harris and Catherine Byrne are serious about this project and its success, they will put their name to this project and actively pursue other locations. Alternative sites could easily have been identified if the Merchants Quay site was too problematic, it is not as if there are no other sites available in the Capital City.

“The international evidence is clear, injecting centres absolutely save lives. They save addicts from overdose, and from contracting Hepatitis C and HIV. They reduce on-street drug injecting and the associated drug litter.

“Fine Gael have been pushing out this issue for too long leaving those who need humane and compassionate treatment behind.”

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