Thursday 22 March 2018

Merchant's Quay chosen as first pilot 'shooting gallery'

Minister Catherine Byrne welcomed the pilot injecting facility
Minister Catherine Byrne welcomed the pilot injecting facility

The country's first supervised "shooting gallery" injecting centre for drug addicts will be located on Merchant's Quay in Dublin.

The Merchant's Quay Project has been chosen to run the facility, where addicts will be allowed to legally shoot up drugs.

"It will be located on our existing premises," Tony Geoghegan, CEO of Merchant's Quay Ireland, said.

"It means the drug users will have easy access to treatment facilities if they want to avail of them."

The HSE said the contract was awarded, subject to planning approval.

"I very much welcome this announcement of the location for the first medically supervised injecting facility at the Merchant's Quay Project following a robust procurement process," Dr Eamon Keenan, national clinical lead of the HSE addiction services said.

"This is a significant public health development in Ireland allowing a marginalised group of society, injecting drug users who may be homeless, to access a harm reduction service that will improve their health, access them into a range of medical and social services and contribute towards a reduction in drug-related deaths."

Drugs Minister Catherine Byrne said the pilot facility seeks to "bring vulnerable people into a safe and clean supervised setting while also helping to reduce drug litter and open injecting in our communities".

Dublin City Council has ruled the centre cannot go ahead without planning permission.


The Temple Bar Company had sought a declaration from the council that such centres would require planning permission.

It was originally earmarked to open the end of last year but a planning application has yet to be made and it is likely to be appealed to An Bord Pleanala.

The HSE said a key element in the success of the pilot will be a demonstration of consultation and ongoing engagement with local stakeholders from the surrounding area.

Merchant's Quay Ireland will be required to have in place a specific plan in this regard and will be required to employ a community liaison worker to engage local businesses, communities and residents in a meaningful manner.

An external evaluation of the pilot phase will be carried out by an independent agent engaged by the HSE. Specific structures will be put in place to ensure comprehensive operational, clinical and supervisory governance arrangements.

These will include a monitoring committee comprising key stakeholders to oversee the facility chaired by Dr Keenan, on behalf of the HSE.

This will be a clinical governance committee that will provide appropriate clinical intervention to users.

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