Merchants Quay Ireland has been granted planning permission for Ireland's first supervised drug injection centre.
An Bord Pleanála has overruled Dublin City Council planners to allow the facility in the south inner city.
Merchant's Quay Ireland said this afternoon that it had permission from the planning appeals tribunal to set up the centre at River House in Dublin 8.
New laws passed in February 2017 allowed users to be exempted from charges of posession of illegal drugs in a designated injection centre.
Merchant's Quay Ireland moved to set up the first such injection clinic in the country -- but was blocked by city planners in July amid concerns from local residents and businesses.
In a decision dated yesterday and released today, An Bord Pleanála's overturned the City Council.
Local TD and Minister of State with responsibility for drugs policy Catherine Murphy's welcomed the move.
She says it's needed to prevent rising numbers of overdose deaths.
"We need to bring down those numbers, we need to bring people into a medically-supervised service where if they do get into difficulty while injecting, they can be helped," she said.
Minister Byrne says she's heard the concerns of locals and is ready to work with them.
"I know people are concerned down there, I know they have real concerns around the school and community, so we have to work with people."
Health minister Simon Harris has also tweeted his support for the decision -- as has Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Riordain, who brought the new laws forward in 2017.
Excellent news! We can now proceed with Ireland’s first supervised injection facility and recognise that addiction is an illness. Well done Merchant’s Quay. Time we all get serious about tackling addiction issues in our country @MerchantsQuayIR https://t.co/zRssK2IWe4
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) December 24, 2019
Can’t describe how delighted I am with this decision.
Thinking of fantastic advocates such as @tonyduffin, all in @AnaLiffey, @PhillyMcMahon, @PMVTrust and others.
This decision will save lives.
“MQI granted planning permission for injection centre” https://t.co/UsjA71a3L4
— Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (@AodhanORiordain) December 24, 2019
The terms of the permission require Merchant's Quay to move its existing night cafe for the homeless out of the centre.
The charity will have to apply for permission again in three years' time if it wants to keep it open.