Government €3 million backing for heroin and cocaine injecting centre on the doorstep of Dublin’s capital business district

Two hundred pupil national school only metres from the proposed facility.

Users of the centre to inject drugs purchased from criminal street dealers.

Pressure to open similar addict centres in towns and villages throughout the country.

Sligo News File.

Dublin’s Licensed Vintners’ Association are up in arms over government approved plans to open a medically staffed heroin and cocaine injecting centre for addicts on the doorstep of the capital’s central business district. Plans for the drug consumption facility are being backed by Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Labour, Sinn Fein and, it is understood, gardai.

 

According to a planning application for the controversial facility, the premises at Merchants Quay will have a suite of self-injecting rooms and cater for 60 addicts per day. Many fear that once established, addicts and drug pushers will congregate in the area in the area ever-increasing numbers.

The government, it’s reported, is proposing to provide upwards of €3 million annually towards the cost of the controversial development where medics will be on hand to guide addicts in how to inject themselves with illicit substances purchased from illegal drug dealers on the street. Such is considered to be the scale of the drug epidemic in Ireland, demands are being also made to have similar narcotic injecting facilities established in every town and village in the country. Costs to taxpayers could rise to several
million euros.

More than 80% of drug users are said to be college students.

Latest figures from the Health Research Board show that 63,187 cases were treated for illegal drug use – excluding alcohol – between 2010 and 2016 alone. The figure does not include the numerous others not availing of treatment.

Heroin and opiates are ranked as a major issue.

Immunity from prosecution

When operational, addicts will be able to take their own illicitly obtained drugs to the new Dublin centre where they will be able to inject themselves with impunity.

 

Arrest or prosecution of those in possession of illegal drugs while in the centre is ruled out by legislation. Addicts purchasing illicit substances from criminal drug dealers on the street, while en route to the earmarked government centre at Merchants Quay will also be immune from prosecution, it is believed.

The objections laid by the LVA against the planning application highlight “the negative impact” the facility would have on the licensed trade, hospitality and tourism sectors of Dublin’s business district. The site of the proposed drug injecting facility, according to details, is only 270m from Christchurch Cathedral, 300m from Dublinia (a museum of Viking and Medieval artefacts) 600m from Dublin Castle and 700 from Temple Bar Square. Temple Bar, the main business area of the district, has a throughput or footfall of 22
million people annually.

A national school, St. Audeons, is “just a few steps” from the planned facility. The school is reportedly seeking legal advice to try to stop the centre opening. Owing to its location the drug centre is considered “a critical child protection concern.”

Banned by UN Conventions

Speaking to The Dublin Gazette Grainne Kenny Grainne Kenny, honorary president of EURAD, an influential European anti-drugs organisation, said: “Injection rooms or shooting galleries are banned by the UN Conventions on Narcotic Drugs as they are considered to be a step in the direction of legalisation and/or decriminalisation of illicit drugs.

“The acceptance of injection rooms by a State, according to UN experts, promotes tolerance towards illegal drug use and trafficking running counter to the provisions of the UN Conventions on Narcotics signed into law by the Irish Government.

“Any state that permits the establishing and operation of injection rooms also facilitates drug trafficking they warn. Ireland has an obligation along with fellow signatories to combat trafficking in all its forms,” she added.

Cllr. Mannix Flynn, an Independent city councillor – one of a number of local authority members to object – said the facility would “send out the wrong message.” He said, people, will inject and be back on the street again.

Alarm

While the Dublin protests continue, alarm is growing nationally over the government’s failure to arrest the mushrooming drug blight. Many parents are profoundly concerned at the level of the drug activity in communities. Teenagers and young adults are natural targets for dealers. Some kids from as young as 11 or 12 are also dabbling in drugs says an expert in the field.

Rolling out injecting centres and easing up on the enforcement of legislation enacted to curb what has become a massive human destroying industry in illicit substances is, to the minds of opponents, no substitute for the pursuit and jailing of the mobs behind the ruinous criminal enterprise.

Evidence suggests, notes a report, that the majority of young people find it easy to obtain cannabis and ecstasy, “with a sizable minority reporting that they believe other substances including cocaine, heroin and new psychoactive substances to be easily accessible.”

Scandalously also, young people in Ireland report finding substance easier to obtain in comparison to EU averages.

It has been suggested that increased cultivation of cannabis in recent years may be linked to organised crime groups from abroad.

A study estimates that there were 19,000 opiate users in 2014, the majority of them male, while the estimate of opiate users outside Dubin increased at an even greater rate.

HIV

A study focused on HIV highlights that some 8,341 people have been diagnosed with the disease in Ireland since the early 1980’s. The number of unknowns with the condition is not recorded; it could be multiple times the total diagnosed.

 

Sex between men was the predominant route of HIV transmission in Ireland in 2016 and accounted for just over half of diagnoses (51%). Heterosexual contact was the second most commonly reported mode of transmission.

The majority of heterosexual cases were born in countries with “generalised HIV epidemics.”

In 2017, a report in the Irish Times highlighted concerns that “a growing ambivalence about the disease” is putting increasing numbers of people at risk.

Latest data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre put the total number of new HIV notifications for 2018 to date alone at 430

A decision on the planning application for the Dublin self-injecting facility is expected to issue within the next month. A licence to operate the centre will be issued by the government.