Home > Merchants Quay Ireland annual review 2020.

Merchants Quay Ireland. (2021) Merchants Quay Ireland annual review 2020. Dublin: Merchants Quay Ireland.

PDF (MQI annual report 2020)

Merchants Quay Ireland is a national voluntary organization that helps people who are homeless and those caught in addiction. We provide frontline services, practical supports, pathways towards recovery and innovative responses to the issues of drug use and homelessness in Ireland. 

The long-term impact of the prolonged national lockdown, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, on drug and alcohol use has yet to become apparent, according to Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI). The 2020 Annual Review shows that 9,882 people accessed its services last year. The charity said the full impact on people’s mental and physical health may not be realized for years to come. The 2020 Annual Review shows that despite the enormous challenges that the pandemic presented, MQI’s quick response ensured life-saving services, ranging from food and health care to residential detox and rehabilitation, remained open throughout 2020.

Details include;

  • MQI provided 49,884 meals on a take-away basis to people who are homeless, with an average of 130 meals provided daily;
  • 9,728 primary health care appointments were attended by 2,045 clients;
  • 4,083 unique individuals engaged with the Harm Reduction Riverbank and Outreach Teams, where they learned how to minimise the risks of drug use and were provided the option of a pathway into treatment. This resulted in 38,925 interventions in 2020- an 18% increase on the previous year;
  • 1174 unique clients engaged with our Homeless Crisis Contact team with 9,867 interventions compared with 653 clients and 4504 interventions in 2019. And increase of 79% in unique client numbers.
  • MQI’s Young person support worker supported 262 young people aged between 18 – 24 – an increase of 72 people (37%) on last year.
  • 1298 people accessed the MQI Midlands Service, a 61% increase on 2019’s figure of 787 clients supported;
    There was a total of 891 referrals to MQI recovery services, with 517 assessments carried out. 137 clients were admitted to services and 115 completed the programmes. All 891 people referred to the service received ongoing support through phone/video. Providing pathways out of drugs is a key aspect of MQI’s work and residential detoxification and drug-free rehabilitation programmes were in strong demand in 2020. 
  • In addition to its existing services, MQI staff partnered with the HSE Homeless Health Link team to provide health and social supports to people in shielding and self-isolation units. MQI staff also operated a 40-bed community facility for vulnerable adults on behalf of the HSE between April and August 2020.

In launching the Annual Review, the charity called for a range of measures to help tackle the homeless and addiction crisis:

  • Urgent provision of gender specific services for women with complex needs;
  • Increased investment in mental health to ensure greater collaboration between mental health and addiction services;
  • Additional investment in both residential and community detox;
  • Increased supported housing for people who are leaving drug treatment;
  • Additional support for young people leaving care at risk of homelessness or addiction;
  • Continued commitment from the Government for the delivery of a Medically Supervised Injecting Facility in Dublin.

[For financial statements, see the MQI website]

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
October 2021
24 p.
Merchants Quay Ireland
Corporate Creators
Merchants Quay Ireland
Place of Publication

Repository Staff Only: item control page