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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Former Lord Mayor calls for injection centre in Cork 

A FORMER lord mayor of Cork has said plans for a supervised injection centre for the city need to be advanced despite a similar plan being rejected in Dublin.

Mick Finn, an independent member of Cork City Council, also said people need to realise that heroin users are addicts who need medical help and services, including a supervised injection centre, to help them.

He was commenting as Merchant’s Quay in Dublin yesterday lodged an appeal against Dublin City Council’s rejection of plans for a supervised injection centre in Dublin 8.

Such a facility for Cork and Dublin were contained in the plans for government in 2016. But the Dublin plans were rejected by Dublin City Council two weeks ago, with the possible impact on tourism in the area cited as one of the reasons for the rejection. The decision will impact on the timescale for such a facility in Cork, as the Dublin centre was to be a pilot for other such projects in Ireland. 

According to the HSE, there is no timeframe for a Cork centre.

Mr Finn said the location of an injection centre in Cork is likely to result in a debate and opposition but he stressed that it is required to provide a safe place for heroin addicts.

He said it would also reduce the risk of drug litter such as syringes being found in public areas.

In recent weeks, there were two incidents where children found syringes — one in Togher and one on Grattan Stret.

He suggested that a suitable location for an injection centre would be a hospital setting, as it could help users tackle their addiction.

“People sometimes forget that heroin users are addicts who do not want to be in that position. What happened with the Merchant’s Quay plan should not stop exploration of the best way of doing things,” said Mr Finn.

“These people are addicts, not criminals, albeit they may have to turn to crime because of the overwhelming need for heroin. That is all the more reason why an overall holistic approach needs to be taken on heroin. It is not just going to disappear. This is a significant issue and we should not take the eye off the ball.”

Last week, Ballincollig mother Carmel Kidney spoke out about the loss of her three sons to heroin.