Vital information on the proposed medically supervised injection centre for Merchants Quay


Earlier this year, Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) was designated as the government’s preferred location for Ireland’s first Medically Supervised Injecting Facility (MSIF). The MSIF is a government-led initiative which will be funded by the HSE. The 18-month pilot programme based in the Riverbank Centre on Merchants Quay, which has yet to open, will be the first of its kind in Ireland.

“We estimate that the service should be operational in 2019 however, that is dependent on the planning process,” says Andrew Rooney of Merchant’s Quay. “The facility will not operate 24/7, but it is required to open seven days a week. In line with other MQI services, it’s for over 18s and will provide a clean, safe, medically supervised service for people who inject drugs.

“The MSIF aims to reduce the risk of harm to people when they are at their most vulnerable, and we believe that this is a vital first step in engaging an often hard to reach, excluded, population in the continuum of drug treatment and healthcare services by establishing contact with people who are using the MSIF, we can signpost people to detox and rehab treatment or other supports.”

As well as the safe injecting of drugs, Merchants Quay are keen to ensure that there is also an emphasis on education and rehabilitation. Within the MSIF, there will be access to medical and crisis counselling as well as opportunity for intervention and referrals to social services, housing facilities and outside treatment. Distribution and training in the use of Naloxone, the so-called ‘overdose antidote’ will also be made available at the facility as well as needle exchange and information on sterile injecting.

“It’s about taking people who are in addiction out of back streets and laneways, keeping them alive, and getting them into contact with health and social care services,” says Rooney. “At Merchants Quay Ireland, we already provide a wide range of primary health care services and our best hope of effective intervention is by having these services all in one place, alongside the Medically Supervised Injecting Facility.”

MQI has a number of committees tasked with ensuring that the concerns and questions of the community are heard and taken into account. One such concern is the location of the facility leading to a dangerous concentration of drug use in one specific area.

Local people are very concerned about the medically supervised injection centre coming into the area but in particular because it will be at Merchant’s Quay which can be very chaotic at times,” says local Sinn Féin Cllr Críona Ní Dhalaigh. “People support the concept of MSIC but believe that Dublin 8 is oversaturated with drug/homeless services. There is also confusion as to what exactly a MSIC is and how it is managed and legislated for. There is a vacuum of information and that needs to be addressed. It is vital that there is public consultation sessions organised before any centre is opened.

“Drug abuse regularly gets raised at our Public Policing Forum meetings and at local policing meetings. I am contacted regularly by constituents concerned about addicts shooting up in parks/graveyards and frustrated that nothing seems to be done about it,” says Cllr Ní Dhalaigh. “We are at breaking point and the communities of Dublin 8 are very concerned that this pilot project is yet again in the heart of their community in an area that has huge anti-social behaviour because of the location of MQI. I am disappointed that the location for the pilot is Merchant’s Quay, it’s not suitable in my opinion. I believe that the centre should be located beside a hospital or a medical centre.”

Despite her concerns over the location of the MSIF, Cllr Ní Dhalaigh says she is supportive of the scheme. “This will save lives. I am on record as being supportive of the Pilot scheme as I believe that we have to treat drug addiction as a health issue and not a justice issue. We need to treat drug addicts as human beings. This pilot facility seeks to bring vulnerable people into a safe and clean supervised setting while also helping to reduce drug litter and open injecting in our communities.”


Locals who wish to voice their concerns or who are looking for more information can contact MQI’s dedicated point of contact for the local community, Alan Dooley, on 086 1832 358 or at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *