The plan for a drug injection room in Dublin city centre has suffered a setback after the City Council ruled that two proposed sites would require planning permission.
This follows a submission by a group - the Dublin Business Alliance - who are opposed to the plan, particularly the intention to locate the facility in the city centre.
The group - made up of the Temple Bar Company, the Restaurants Association of Ireland and the Licenced Vintners Association - are expected to appeal to An Bord Pleanála if the council grants permission.
The HSE were due to make an announcement by the end of October on the result of a tendering competition to run the injection centre, but this was deferred until December.
The tender was for the operation of a supervised injection centre with six booths in the inner city area, with the primary aims being the reduction of disease transmission and drug overdoses, as well as to connect addicts with treatment services.
However the Dublin Business Alliance, which represent 2,000 businesses in the city, say an injection centre introduces the concept of an authorised drug user, which would lead to increased drug dealing and public order issues in the city centre.
Martin Harte of the Temple Bar Company made submissions to the city council on whether prospective sites – The Ana Liffey Drug Project on Middle Abbey St, Merchants Quay Ireland on Merchants Quay, a HSE facility on Pearse St, and the former Longfields Hotel on Fitzwilliam St - would need planning permission.
In a statement the city council said that a decision has been made that in respect of the Middle Abbey St and Merchants Quay sites, an injection room would be a material change of use and would not be an exempted development.
A decision on the other two sites is expected within two weeks.