ANY plan to develop a supervised injection centre in Cork City would have to involve careful consultation and selection of a site.
That is according to politicians who are members of the Cork City Joint Policing Committee (JPC), who have been asked by Cork City Council chief executive Ann Doherty to push for such a centre for the city.
She made the plea at last week’s meeting of the JPC.
Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said it is clear that supervised injection centres help save lives by reducing the likelihood of overdoses from heroin.
But he said: “it needs to be done in consultation with people and the location would need to be very carefully identified. We need to get it right.”
Fine Gael senator Jerry Buttimer said he is very supportive of any strategy to tackle drug use in Cork City and said it is very important to “take cognisance” of the comments made by Ms Doherty.
He continued: “Obviously, there is a need to work with the HSE and other agencies on it. It is important that we work collaboratively to assist people.”
And he said: “I think all of us who have been on drug and alcohol taskforces and JPCs see that there is a pattern of behaviour that has increased, and drug use is a worry and concern.”
He added: “We must reach out and help people in addiction — they are human beings.”
Fine Gael TD Colm Burke said: “We have to deal with the issue but we have to be very careful that there are adequate supports there for people who are attending such a facility.”
Supervised injection centres for heroin users in Cork and Dublin were part of the 2016 plans for government.
The Dublin plans, by the group Merchants Quay Ireland, were rejected by Dublin City Council in 2019, with the possible impact on tourism in the area cited as one reason for the rejection.
That decision was overturned by An Bord Pleanála in December 2019, but a judicial review was taken by a primary school in the area.
In July, a ruling was made against An Bord Pleanála decision, stating that the planning decision “makes no reference at all to the school, education or the impact of the proposed development on the welfare of the pupils”.