News & Media

Lives will be lost without injection centres

15 July 2021

Statement by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
Spokesperson on Education, Enterprise and Trade
  • Government should have had Plan B ready for alternative location
  • Mobile centres an option but only temporarily

Following the High Court decision to overturn planning permission for a pilot safe injection centre in Dublin, Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said Government must now produce its Plan B to deliver such a centre elsewhere in the city. Expressing his disappointment at the decision, Deputy Ó Ríordáin said the failure by Government to deliver injection centres throughout the country is costing people their lives.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“No one deserves to die on the streets of our capital city, and the purpose of these centres is to put humanity back at the heart of our drug policy. Lives will be lost as a result of this decision. Where is the Government’s Plan B and where is the sense of urgency needed to protect vulnerable drug users?

“Injecting centres save lives. They prevent fatal overdoses. They prevent the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C. Any Department serious about taking a harm reduction approach to drug use would have a comprehensive alternative pilot in place ready for today’s decision.

"For example, Dublin Town had proposed the option of a mobile injecting centre as a temporary solution. While not perfect, such a temporary measure would be worthwhile to protect drug users who, at present, are dying on the streets. Ultimately, drug centres need to be at a fixed address so users can easily access the service.

“The Programme for Government has a commitment to providing drug centres which are desperately awaited throughout the country. Harmful drug use is not a problem limited to Dublin – we also need to see drug centres in Cork, Limerick, and areas with high drug use.

“We are still awaiting a Citizens’ Assembly on drugs which should be convened as soon as possible. As a nation, we must have a broader conversation about our approach to drug policy, one which engages people from every section of society. Having a comprehensive drug policy is not just good for users, but for society at large.

“Those who need these services deserve humane and compassionate treatment. If someone is crippled by addiction they deserve the care and compassion of this state. We need to mature as a nation in terms of drug-law. We need to protect vulnerable users. We now need urgent action from Government to help save people’s lives.”