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'We don't want drugs centre in the heart of city', says U2 hotel boss

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The Clarence Hotel is among businesses objecting to the plan

The Clarence Hotel is among businesses objecting to the plan

The Clarence Hotel is among businesses objecting to the plan

The four-star Dublin hotel owned by U2's Bono and The Edge is objecting to a drugs centre in the heart of the city.

The plan for the State's first medically-supervised injecting centre was submitted last month by Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI).

The application involves the redevelopment of the charity's Riverbank building at 13/14 Merchant's Quay in D8.

The centre will cater for about 60 heroin and cocaine addicts in seven injecting rooms.

The Clarence Hotel - co-owned by Bono and The Edge - is one of 99 businesses and business organisations opposing the plan.

General manager Michael O'Connor said the centre should be located on a medical campus, not in the city centre.

Other hotels opposing the plan include The Morgan, The Trinity City and The Westin, all of which are part of the MHL Hotel Collection owned by US billionaire John Malone. Pubs opposing the plan include The Porterhouse and The Temple Bar, one of the best known - and most profitable - pubs in the country.

The Temple Bar Company, the Dublin Business Alliance and the Licensed Vintners Association also oppose it.

St Audoen's National School, which stands just 300m from the Riverbank building, also objects.

The city council has received a submission from the HSE office on Merchants Quay outlining its concerns over the plan.

In the objection lodged by The Clarence - which has been trading for 25 years - Mr O'Connor said: "The location of [the injecting centre] is less than 500m from our premises and we believe that if granted, it will have significant negative impacts on the surrounding area up to and including Temple Bar - an area with an annual footfall of 22 million."

He said that for the centre to work, gardai would have to turn a blind eye to drug possession around the centre.

"This will create significant anti-social behaviour within the immediate vicinity," he said.

"Drug users must pursue whatever illegal means necessary to access money to feed their habit. This will lead to an increase of crime in the area.

"Our businesses have already been negatively impacted by the levels of anti-social behaviour which is visible daily along the quayside.

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"This can be directly attributed to the large number of drug addicts availing of the current services at Merchants Quay and other similar services located within the city centre."

Mr O'Connor said that "if this is a medical facility, then it should be located on a medical campus, not in a city centre building beside the country's largest tourism centre".

A city council decision is due on MQI's application next month.


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