'People's lives are depending on it': Push for supervised injection centre in Cork

'People's lives are depending on it': Push for supervised injection centre in Cork

Ann Doherty, Chief Executive of Cork City Council. Pic: Brian Lougheed

POLITICIANS are being urged to push for a supervised injection centre for Cork city to help save lives.

The plea was led at the Cork City Joint Policing Committee meeting yesterday afternoon by the chief executive of Cork City Council, Ann Doherty, and echoed by the Lord Mayor, Cllr Colm Kelleher.

Ms Doherty said that previously, the focus had been on ensuring such a centre for Dublin before one could be considered for Cork.

Supervised injection centres for heroin users in Cork and Dublin were part of the 2016 plans for government.

Ms Doherty said: “I believe Cork city is a city where you could do this.” 

She said her appeal was to Oireachtas members attending the JPC meeting to push for a supervised injection centre for Cork which she said would help support people with addiction issues in Cork city.

Chairperson of the committee, Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Colm Kelleher, said: “I am in favour of supervised injection centres and I am appealing to our Oireachtas members as well.” 

He added: “People’s lives are depending on it.” 

The plea was made after concerns were raised by a number of JPC members about anti social behaviour issues in Cork city centre.

Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said he will raise the issue of a supervised injection centre for Cork with the Minister for Justice, Heather Humphreys.

The plans for a supervised injection centre in Dublin, by Merchant's Quay, were rejected by Dublin City Council in 2019, with the possible impact on tourism in the area cited as one of the reasons 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 the An Bord Pleanala 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.” 

In July, David Lane, coordinator of the Southern Regional Drug and Alcohol Taskforce, told The Echo there could be a case for pushing for Cork to go before Dublin in providing a supervised injection centre, given the challenges that have faced the Dublin project.

At the JPC meeting, crime statistics for the first eight months of this year provided by Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin showed that drug detections in Cork city were up 22% this year from 976 last year to 1,192 this year.

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