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New Jersey Governor voices support for supervised injection sites during visit to Cork

THE Governor of New Jersey expressed his support for supervised injection sites as “part of the solution” to tackling the heroin problem during a visit to Cork.

Phil Murphy, who has previously spoken about the need to eliminate stigma and promote a compassionate approach to addressing opioid abuse, made the comment while speaking to reporters during a visit to the hotel of town yesterday.

The Governor of Garden State, who has ancestral ties to Cork, was leading a trade delegation to Ireland that included a stopover in Cork City to explore the potential for stronger trade ties between New Jersey and the Cork region .

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy and the trade delegation were welcomed to Cork by Lord Mayor Cllr Colm Kelleher and Chief Executive Ann Doherty ahead of a series of high-level engagements with business leaders business, academics and scientific communities in Cork City. Photo: Michael MacSweeney/Provision

Governor Murphy and First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy visited the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Colm Kelleher at City Hall before the Governor embarked on a series of high profile engagements with representatives from the community of business, academics and scientists in the city of Cork.

Asked for his opinion on supervised injection centers – a recent topic of debate and discussion in Cork – Mr Murphy said he thought such centers were “important and useful entities”.

“We call them Harm Reduction Centers in New Jersey and we believe in them. We believe they are forces for good.

“The arguments against them have tended to be what I would call ‘not in my backyard’ – less about whether they’re doing any good or not, more ‘I don’t want that at the end of my street’.

“But we think they are important and useful entities.

“We both fight the scourge of opioid abuse and it’s a scourge, it’s an epidemic.

“The Covid pandemic has made the situation worse, at least in America and I suspect that may be true everywhere. There is no magic wand, but we believe these centers are part of the solution.

The Lord Mayor, who has remained true to his belief that such centers can help save lives, reiterated this view during the Governor’s visit.

“It’s something I’m passionate about, it’s something I’ve been lobbying the central government for funds in the past few days just before the governor’s visit,” he said.

“As the governor alluded to, it’s the same argument here, ‘not in my backyard’, but it’s actually about helping people – the poor souls who have wandered off,” he said. he continued.

Mr Murphy’s itinerary during his visit to Cork included a meeting with the Cork Chamber, a tour of the UCC laboratories and a discussion on clean energy, hosted by Ørsted – a clean energy company with offices based in Cork.

He spoke of the commonalities between the New Jersey economy and the Irish economy and said he believed there were “many opportunities” for cross-collaboration on a range of projects, including renewable energy.

“The Irish economy, and Cork in particular, matches almost perfectly the New Jersey economy, which is very innovation-based, green-based, [an] emphasis on higher education, innovation, entrepreneurship – a lot of things in common in our respective economies,” he continued.

Separately, the First Lady was due to meet the Cork City Council Women’s Caucus yesterday, representatives from IWish, as well as visiting a local girls’ school and the University of Cork Maternity Hospital.