Gary Gannon TD

Permission for supervised injecting facility is a positive first step in reclaiming and rejuvenating our capital city

Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon has renewed his call for the establishment of a Taoiseach’s taskforce for O’Connell Street after a supervised injecting facility was recently granted planning permission in Dublin city centre.

“The delivery of a medically supervised injecting centre at Merchants Quay, which had been delayed by a legal challenge, hopefully represents the start of a new chapter in how we deal with those struggling with drug addiction in Ireland.

“International evidence shows that this approach leads to less public injecting on our streets and, more importantly, reduced deaths from overdoses. Crucially, drug users are more likely to engage with addiction and health services when attending supervised facilities.

“I have long advocated for a health-led, compassionate response to the city’s drugs problem, one that prioritises the safety and wellbeing of addicts. Too often, when people talk about a policing solution to drugs, this simply means the displacement of the problem to other parts of the city and the criminalisation of those living in poverty.

“The permission granted for the Merchants Quay facility by An Bord Pleanála is for an initial 18-month period, after which time it will be reviewed. I firmly believe that a Taoiseach’s taskforce for O’Connell Street and the surrounding area could play a key role in monitoring the success of the injecting facility while addressing any issues that arise in the community.

“I called for such a taskforce last November when the Dáil heard statements on issues affecting Dublin city, including homelessness, dereliction, crime and drug addiction.

“The granting of planning permission for a supervised injecting facility is a positive first step towards reclaiming and rejuvenating our capital city. The Government now needs to build on this momentum by agreeing to the establishment of a taskforce – overseen by a Dublin-based Taoiseach – to coordinate an ambitious plan for the city with key stakeholders, including organisations working at the coalface of drug addiction.”

January 12, 2023

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