‘First drug cen­tre will turn Tem­ple Bar into a war zone’

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By John Lee

THE coun­try’s first su­per­vised drug in­ject­ing cen­tre will be run by Mer­chants Quay Ire­land on the banks of the Lif­fey in the old­est part of Dublin.

MQI al­ready pro­vides a drop-in ser­vice, night café and other sup­ports for peo­ple who are home­less and strug­gling with ad­dic­tion is­sues in the cap­i­tal.

The highly-con­tro­ver­sial project, which is be­ing per­son­ally cham­pi­oned by Fine Gael Min­is­ter Cather­ine Byrne, will be run by MQI for an 18-month pe­riod, by means of a li­cence un­der the Mis­use of Drugs (Su­per­vised In­jec­tion Fa­cil­i­ties) Act 2017.

Last year the Irish Mail on Sun­day revealed de­tails of draft leg­is­la­tion that showed ‘au­tho­rised’ heroin users in the clinic will be ex­empt from the Mis­use of Drugs Act and will not, un­der law, be ar­rested for pos­ses­sion of nar­cotics.

The MoS pub­lished the de­tails of a con­fi­den­tial Garda re­port, which raised ques­tions about how to man­age drug users and deal­ers in the en­vi­rons of the fa­cil­ity and said it was ‘im­pos­si­ble to po­lice’.

Mar­tin Harte, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Tem­ple Bar Com­pany, fears for the im­pact on tourism. He de­scribed the area as ‘cur­rently like the Wild West; the level of sig­nif­i­cant vi­o­lent anti-so­cial be­hav­iour is scary’.

‘This is go­ing to be car­nage of the high­est, high­est or­der, and it shows the com­plete dis­re­gard the Gov­ern­ment has for the in­ner city, and par­tic­u­larly around Dublin 8,’ he added. ‘It’s ap­palling. At the mo­ment this area is a bat­tle­ground and it’s go­ing to be­come a war zone.’

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