Merchant's Quay will let addicts inject on premises
The country's first supervised injecting centre for drug addicts is expected to be in Merchant's Quay in Dublin.
It follows the decision by the HSE to choose the Merchant's Quay Project to run the proposed room where addicts will be allowed to legally 'shoot up' drugs.
"It will be located on our existing premises," said Tony Geoghegan, head of Merchant's Quay which has a long history of providing drug treatment. It means drug users will have access to treatment facilities if they want to avail of them, he added.
The HSE said the contract was awarded subject to planning approval. Dublin City Council has ruled the centre cannot go ahead without planning permission.
The Temple Bar Company had sought a declaration from the council that the centres would require planning permission.
The centre was originally earmarked to open at the end of last year but as an application for planning has yet to be made it will not be ready until later this year.
Dr Eamon Keenan, National Clinical Lead of HSE Addiction Services, said: "This is a significant public health development, allowing a marginalised group of society - injecting drug users who may be homeless - to access a harm reduction service that will improve their health, give them access to a range of medical and social services, and contribute towards a reduction in drug-related deaths."
Drugs Minister Catherine Byrne said: "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."
The HSE promised consultation and ongoing engagement with local stakeholders from the surrounding area.