Home > MQI annual review 2006.

McGuire, Vivion (2007) MQI annual review 2006. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 23, Autumn 2007, pp. 7-8.

PDF (Drugnet Ireland, issue 23) - Published Version

The Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) annual review for 2006, and its re-designed website, were launched by Minister of State with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy Mr Pat Carey TD on 31 August 2007.1 The Minister spoke of the growing need for needle exchange services to be made available nationally. 

More than 39,460 visits were recorded at MQI’s needle-exchange service, of which 1,754 were by new clients. While the majority were heroin users, 20% were also using cocaine. Chief executive Mr Tony Geoghegan said that people tended to inject drugs for a year or more before they sought treatment and that during this period they were at risk of contracting hepatitis C or HIV. He highlighted the lack of localised harm-reduction services, saying that, while media attention had focused on problem cocaine use, heroin remained a major issue throughout the country. 

The review also highlights the increasing demand for MQI’s homeless services, particularly from people from the new EU member states. By October 2006 over 50 eastern Europeans were availing of the services every day. MQI has produced information leaflets in Polish and Russian (available on the new MQI website), and some staff have taken language classes. Mr Geoghegan called for some relaxation of the Habitual Residence Condition to allow non-nationals greater access to social welfare services. 

The types of service offered by MQI and the numbers of people accessing them in 2006 are shown below.


Type of intervention

No. of participants


Needle exchange and health promotion services

Promoting safer injecting techniques

HIV and hepatitis prevention

Safe sex advice

Information on overdose

39,460 (including 1,754 new clients)

308 safer injecting workshops

Not available

Stabilisation services

Methadone substitution

Supportive day programmes

Gateway programme




16 (monthly average)

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Settlement service

Assist service users to access interim and long-term accommodation

An average of 52 a month

An average of 25 a month availed of the Tenancy Sustainment Service

Integration programmes

Access to transitional accommodation (Ballymount House) for up to 24 weeks

Group and one-to-one therapeutic sessions


Not available

Training and work programmes

FÁS Community Employment scheme



70 secured permanent employment or moved to further education

Catering training programme


10 awarded FETAC Certificate

High Park

17-week, drug-free residential programme including individual counselling, group therapy, educational groups, work assignments and recreational activities

73 (of whom 27 were admitted for detoxification)

19 completed detox

St Francis Farm

Therapeutic facility offering a 6–12-month programme


17 completed three months or more


 1. Merchants Quay Ireland (2007) Annual review 2006. Dublin: MQI.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
Issue Title
Issue 23, Autumn 2007
July 2007
Page Range
pp. 7-8
Health Research Board
Issue 23, Autumn 2007
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

Repository Staff Only: item control page