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Tuesday 26 March 2019

Restaurant plagued by street dealers fights drug injection centre

Dollard & Co is around 150 metres from the proposed centre
Dollard & Co is around 150 metres from the proposed centre

A popular Dublin restaurant has hit out at illegal drug dealing being conducted in its "doorways and lobbies" in an objection to a supervised injection centre.

Dollard & Co, on Wellington Quay, which is around 150 metres from the proposed centre on Merchants Quay, wants Dublin City Council to turn down the application.

The restaurant said its staff had been verbally and physically attacked.

Its objection letter said the idea of having the centre in this part of the city was "counterproductive and flawed planning", adding that the facility "is likely to be overwhelmed".

Abuse

Dollard & Co said the area was of importance to tourism and on the edge of the Central Business District.

"In the conduct of our business we are in daily contact with illegal drug users," said general manager Kevin Lysaght.

"Illegal drug dealing is conducted in our doorways and lobbies.

"Our staff are regularly subjected to verbal and sometimes physical abuse.

"Instances of theft and criminal damage have been connected to illegal drug users by members of An Garda Siochana."

The restaurant's objection is one of around 100 in total to the centre, which the city council will make a decision on.

Thomas Street Pharmacy was among those to raise issues, with owner Brian McDevitt saying he feared crime in the local area would increase further.

He said his business had been subjected to three armed robberies in the past five years "and I have no desire to see that rate increase".

"This area is a tourist thoroughfare. Ireland's most popular tourist attraction is at the end of Thomas Street and we have had countless tourists comment on their experience with drug users in the area," Mr McDevitt said.

Other objections reported in recent months were from Failte Ireland, the Clarence Hotel, the Temple Bar, the Morgan Hotel and St Audoen's National School.

Failte Ireland said it had concerns over the location but was not against the centre.

Those in the tourism industry were worried that such a facility would encourage further antisocial behaviour and crime.

Attractions

Failte Ireland spoke of the efforts to grow tourism further in Ireland and of the major attractions that are all near Merchants Quay.

It said the Guinness Storehouse attracted 1.7 million visitors in 2017, with St Patrick's Cathedral welcoming 603,000, Dublin Castle 371,000, Christ Church Cathedral 238,000 and Dublinia 200,000.

"The tourism industry in the area of this proposed national facility has raised its concerns that the proposed medically supervised injecting facility may encourage crime and antisocial behaviour within this key tourism hotspot and may have a negative impact on their business and the safety of their staff," Failte's submission said.

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