The refusal of planning permission for the country's first drug injection room is being appealed to An Bord Pleanála by Merchants Quay Ireland.

The drug and homeless charity said that such centres are currently operating in more than 100 cities around the world.

"They are proven to create safer communities for all by reducing public drug use and drug litter, helping people into treatment, and most importantly, saving lives," it said.

Merchants Quay secured a licence to run the facility, but Dublin City Council planners ruled their south city location at the Riverbank building was contrary to the city's development plan.

The appeal lodged this afternoon is understood to argue that it was inappropriate for the council to have asked for a policing plan as part of the planning application.

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Gardaí told MQI that they could not provide a policing plan as they would be seen to be influencing the planning process.

Council planners later stated in their decision that they had "major reservations" about the view that a plan could not be drawn up before a decision was made.

They said: "This leaves a high level of uncertainty regarding the policing of a facility which is intended to serve the entire city, and potentially attracting large numbers of service users from across the city and beyond."

In refusing permission, the council gave as its reasons the existing oversupply of social services in the area with 17 homeless services and four addiction services already within 500 metres.

It said the proposed location, which is near Christchurch Cathedral, was in a "tourist hotspot".

It pointed out that protecting the sustainability of residential neighbourhoods and the promotion of tourism were objectives of the city's development plan and the Liberties Local Area plan.