HOUSING and homeless charity Peter McVerry Trust, which also operates a number of addiction and recovery services, has voiced support for a supervised injection centre in Cork city.
Earlier this week the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Colm Kelleher told The Echo that he has contacted Health Minister Stephen Donnelly seeking funding to begin the process of establishing a supervised injection centre in Cork, something he believes would help save lives.
Mr Kelleher had previously stated that it was his intention to push for such a centre in the city as part of an effort to address the heroin problem.
Speaking on the topic, Francis Doherty, director of housing development and communications at Peter McVerry Trust, said the charity is “definitely in favour” of supervised injection centres.
“Addiction isn’t a justice issue, it’s a health issue.
“People see quite regularly addition issues on the streets in communities and they see people using or they see the paraphernalia.
“Supervised injection centres work because they manage it, they provide a safe space, a controlled space, for people to come and do it.
“People are going to do it anyway because they’re active in addiction so it’s about bringing them to a point where it’s managed and safe and where it’s controlled so you’re taking what is already happening and bringing it into a space where it’s controlled and has less of an impact on the community,” Mr Doherty told The Echo.
“The issue is always going to be where does that centre sit and communities concerns and fears over the impact and we’ve seen that in Dublin with the plan for the project in the Temple Bar area,” he continued.
However, Mr Doherty said there is a health need for such centres and that communities need to be worked with to address concerns.
“We have to shift and recognise that this is a health need that needs to be responded to and bringing individuals into a supervised injection centre can be the pathway to treatment, it can be the pathway ultimately to detox and sobriety,” he said.
“People fear the worst in these situations so it’s about explaining how this is a positive, about dealing with the issue rather than just letting it play out on the streets without any control.”