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TV presenter one of just two in favour of drugs injection facility


TV host Brendan Courtney

TV host Brendan Courtney

TV host Brendan Courtney

TV personality Brendan Courtney has emerged as one of only two members of the public to make a submission to An Bord Pleanala supporting the plan for the State's first medically supervised injection facility (MSIF).

Last month, An Bord Pleanala gave the plan by Merchant's Quay Ireland (MQI) the go-ahead for the MSIF at the organisation's Riverbank building in Dublin 8.

Now, the scale of the opposition to the move has been revealed, with the inspector's report confirming that 53 submissions were made concerning the plan with the vast majority opposed to the proposal.

The inspector said that the board received two observations - including one from Mr Courtney, who lives nearby - supporting the plan.

Submissions were also made by the HSE, the Department of Health and Junior Health Minister Catherine Byrne.

One of the submissions vehemently opposed was from the primary school St Audoen's NS, which is located next door to the MQI building where the MSIF will be located.


That submission described a recent incident in which junior and senior infants witnessed adults trying to revive a woman who had overdosed on drugs on a green across from the junior playground.

Others to voice their opposition include the owner of the Oliver St John Gogarty Pub and Blooms Hotel, Martin Keane, along with observations by the owners of The Temple Bar pub, the Porterhouse Group and the representative body for Dublin publicans, the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA).

In his observation, Mr Courtney told the appeals board: "As a local resident, I see the need for the MSIF every day. At the moment, vulnerable people are forced to publicly inject and the failure to provide services meeting their needs lessens the likelihood that people in addiction will receive help that could support them into recovery.

"The current situation is not beneficial for the local community, economy or tourism.

"It is illogical to persist with a situation where people in addiction are forced to inject in public, at considerable risk to themselves and the wider public, when the solution of a MSIF exists."

In its submission, St Audoen's NS said that the MSIF was self-evidently unsuitable for location so close to the school.

Providing details from last September 19, the school said that the woman who overdosed was unresponsive.

The schoolchildren saw staff at MQI perform CPR on the woman and administer naloxone in a bid to revive her.

"This incident occurred in front of the junior and senior infants, while one child in junior infants was removed from her parent's car by a teacher in an effort to prevent the child from witnessing this incident while her mother was assisting the woman," the submission said.