Merchants Quay Ireland has described as "reprehensible" Dublin City Council's refusal of planning permission for a drug injection centre.

The homelesss charity made its claim in a strongly-worded submission as part of its appeal to An Bord Pleanála to allow the facilty at its premises on the south city quays.

The city council refused permission for the State's first supervised injection centre because of an existing overconcentration of social support services in the south city area, the lack of a policing plan, fears that it would undermine the tourism economy and would have an "injurious" effect on the local residential community.

Merchants Quay is now appealing this decision but An Bord Pleanála has also received new submissions from objectors including a report from a former assistant garda commissioner, which claims such facilities have created "drug trafficking zones" in other countries.

A primary school beside the facility has produced reports saying the activity around the centre will be pyschologically damaging to children, while the Children's Ombudsman has said Merchants Quay failed to carry out a child-impact assessment despite requests.

In its appeal Merchants Quay says the refusal of planning permission by the city council "flies in the face" of Government policy, which granted a licence for the injection facility and claims the council does not have the power to decide on its planning.

It also accused the city council of having "scant regard" for its obligation to provide social services contained in its own development plan and that it failed to balance this against its consideration to business interests.

In a submission, drawn up by planning consultants Brock McClure, the appeal states that there is no evidence that the tourist industry would be affected, that there is existing concentration of homeless services in the city centre and that the injection centre needs to be in the main centre for drug activity.

It also cited international experience to show that the injection centre would reduce drug related litter and not cause a rise in crime.

Claims by city planners that the facility would attract customers from outside the city were "wholly unfounded" it said.

In particular it pointed out that it could not draw up a policing plan because gardaí said they could not become involved in planning and that the council acted outside its powers in requesting such a plan.

In response the Temple Bar Company, representing businesses in the city area, have submitted a report from former assistant commissioner Dr Michael Feehan who says an injection centre would be likely to cause an increase in drug dealing in the vicinity.

Dr Feehan said because the injection centre allows an "authorised user" to possess drugs near the facility, this  "is tantamount to a softly-softly policing response to the trafficking of drugs by organsised gangs".

He also says he has interviewed city centre gardaí who are concerned that there are no laws to ban users from the centre as there are for the operation of a fast food restaurant.

His report queries some data on the international experience and points out that in Vancouver, Canada, 83 extra police officers were assigned to patrol around its injection centre while the local garda station at Kevin Street has only a handful of officers on patrol at any one time.

Meanwhile, the principal and board of management at St Audoen's Primary School, which is right beside the proposed facility, said children are already witnessing overdoses, drug dealing, injecting, fights, defecaton and public nudity.

The new facility's opening times will coincide with the times children arrive and leave school and the school has produced reports from child pyschology experts who say witnessing this behaviour will normalise it in their eyes.

The school's submission also includes a letter from the Children's Ombudsman Dr Niall Muldoon who said representatives from the Department of Health and Merchants Quay failed to follow up on a request for child rights impact assessment of the new facility despite letters and a face-to-face meeting.