Press Release

Planning Permission for Medically Supervised Injection Facility at Merchants Quay Granted

Planning Permission for Medically Supervised Injection Facility at Merchants Quay Granted


Merchants Quay Ireland welcomes An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant planning permission for the reconfiguration of our Riverbank Centre on Merchant’s Quay to facilitate a Medically Supervised Injecting Facility (MSIF).

We understand that there are concerns from members of the local community, and we will work closely with them as the project progresses. We are committed to engaging with all stakeholders to ensure that this facility benefits everyone.

The MSIF will allow us to reach people who are currently isolated and vulnerable, offering them vital healthcare and treatment options. This facility will save lives.

MQI would also like to place on record our thanks to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, Minister of State for Public Health, Well Being and National Drug Strategy, Hildegarde Naughton and former Ministers for State Frank Feighan and Catherine Byrne and their officials for their support for this vital, health-led service.


MQI CEO, Paula Byrne says:

“The decision today is the start of a new chapter in how Ireland treats those in our society who are struggling with drug addiction. We look forward to progressing this important health initiative in conjunction with the HSE. I would like to extend my gratitude to all those in government and in the wider community who have supported our campaign for the MSIF, which is a key part of the programme for Government.”

MQI Deputy Head of Clinical Services, Elaine Kehoe, says:

“International research shows the vast societal benefits of MSIFs, including decreases in public injecting, drug litter, and most importantly, overdose deaths. The MSIF will save lives and we look forward to working together with all stakeholders as we pilot this ground-breaking facility.”

MQI rehabilitation client Cathy notes how a medically supervised injection facility will benefit those in addiction:

“I’m in recovery now, I’m off everything, but I’m one of the lucky ones. I started smoking heroin after my partner died. I just wanted to feel out of my head and when I saw that injecting could numb the pain quicker, I started doing that. I hadn’t been injecting long before I overdosed. I didn’t really know how to use, or that you could put too much in. I was by myself behind one of the big bins in Temple Bar, and I couldn’t really see what I was doing. I was lucky that someone showed up and called an ambulance. If they hadn’t, I’d be dead.  I’ve a friend who died of an overdose by herself in a tent last year. She was twenty-seven and had two kids. If there had been somewhere for her to go to inject safely, that wouldn’t have happened. An MSIF will save lives – lives like hers, and lives like mine.”




Notes to the editor:


About Merchants Quay Ireland


Merchants Quay Ireland is the national charity working with people who are homeless and in addiction. The organisation provides services ranging from open access crisis intervention and health promotion services to day-support programmes, residential treatment, detox, and prison counselling.

MQI’s Open Access Centre in Dublin provides vital services such as food, showers, harm reduction, healthcare and mental healthcare to approximately 10,000 people per year.

In December 2019, An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission to Merchants Quay Ireland for the reconfiguration of the charity’s Riverbank Centre to provide for the ground-breaking facility. Leave to apply for a Judicial Review of the decision by An Bord Pleanála was granted by the High Court in February 2020.

This Judicial Review took place in June 2021 and on the 2nd December 2021, Judge Simons overturned the planning permission decision and ordered that the matter be remitted back to An Bord Pleanála for further consideration.

On the 21st December 2022, An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:


Laura McDowell

Communications Officer

086 779 3206






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