Residents of the George's Street area are opposed to the opening of a methadone clinic in the HSE building because they fear it 'could have a negative impact by leading to increased anti-social behaviour and making people feel unsafe'.
'However, we recognise the need to provide such a service to people who require support in overcoming issues with drugs and we believe they should be able to access such services in a manner which respects their right to privacy and anonymity', said a spokesman, adding that the George's Street location would not offer the privacy they deserve.
Residents have called on public representatives to consult with the HSE on the proposal, to find a more suitable location for the clinic and have advised that if it was sited in the new primary care centre in Grogan's Road, the prescriptions would be issued there and dispensed in various pharmacies around the town so there wouldn't be a large volume of people in any one area.
The residents are organising a petition to gather support in their campaign against the clinic.
The spokesman described George's Street as a residential area containing family homes and apartment buildings as well as guest houses and businesses with heavy traffic and limited parking. It joins Mount George which links to Abbey Street and John's Gate Street through arched passageways.
There are two green spaces in the area which has a tourist footfall as it links Selskar Abbey, the old Town Wall, the Robert Brennan 1916 Memorial, the Arts Centre, St. John's Graveyard and the Redmond Mausoleum.
'There is a considerable population of senior citizens living in the area along with young families. It also has a large footfall of primary school children who attend the Mercy School in St. John's Road and students attending Selskar College', said the spokesman.
'At times there are issues with anti-social behaviour and the related dumping of alcohol cans and bottles at the arches to Abbey Street and John's Gate Street and there are issues in relation to drugs'.
'However, in spite of this, the area is currently regarded as being a safe and friendly place where people can feel secure in their homes and going about their daily lives', the residents' he said.
'We believe the opening of a methadone clinic in the area and the volume of clients it would receive, could have a negative impact by leading to increased anti-social behaviour, making people feel unsafe and less secure, particularly senior citizens and children, reduce the quality of life currently enjoyed by the residents of the area, be off-putting for tourists, increase traffic flow and parking issues and reduce the value of our properties'.
'It could also have a negative impact on the town's Main Street which is close by as such a clinic could attract people with involvement in illegal and recreational drug culture to the area', he said.