A homeless charity has been given permission by the Health Service Executive to trial Ireland’s first drug-injection facility.
The centre could open in Dublin for users who are failing to break their addiction.
Critics say the drugs distribution centre will do more harm than good in Dublin’s south quay area.
Merchants Quay homeless charity has been granted the tender to operate the centre for a trial period of 18 months, but decisions whether to go ahead with the programme will not be made before autumn.
St Audoen’s primary school, the Clarence Hotel and some local pubs have raised objections, and state tourism development body Failte Ireland said the centre will lead to an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour.
Earlier this year, NHS Scotland received a backlash for announcing it will open the UK’s first heroin distribution centre in Glasgow.
The centre, which will see nurses distribute heroin to addicts up to three times a day, was branded “a wrong approach, which will only make Scotland’s drug crisis worse”.
Drugs researcher Neil McKeganey, commenting on drugs distribution centres, said the treatment of drug addicts “should be focused on helping them into a drug-free state, not facilitating dependence.”
He added: “You are effectively saying to users that if they don’t get better on other things such as methadone, you will give them the drug they crave.”