In May 2017, around six years ago, the president signed legislation to allow for facilities which would provide safe places for people to inject drugs, with staff supervision.
In February 2018, the HSE selected Merchant’s Quay – a day service used by homeless people, which already operates a needle-exchange programme – to pilot the approach and open the first supervised injecting facility.
The hope is that if this were set up, fewer people would have to inject drugs on the streets, and it would prevent overdose deaths and allow health and social care workers to build connections with users to offer treatment options.
After that came four years of planning applications and objections and rejections, before the project finally got the green light in December 2022.
But last week a spokesperson for Merchant’s Quay Ireland said the charity doesn’t know when the supervised injection centre will be opening.