Closure threatened drugs clinic - meeting today

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Ballymena Borough Council have heard strong testimony in support of the closure threatened Railway Street Addiction Centre.

Supporters of the centre put their case forward on Monday evening. Now, Justice Minister will meet the Northern Health Trust today (Wednesday) to discuss the future of the Ballymena centre.

Last month he announced that funding would be withdrawn for the unit at the end of January.

“What we’re going to have to do when we meet today is to see what the options are, whether there are potential ways of managing the service,” Mr Ford said.

“But the reality is that the DoJ is faced with colossal budget cuts and this is not the only worthwhile, positive, preventative programme which is going to see reductions in the year ahead of us - that’s the blunt reality of where we are.”

A former heroin addict who used the centre said she hoped the minister would change his mind.

“I know he’s in a very difficult situation with money, I know all the MLAs and ministers are in that difficulty, but I don’t think the addiction clinic is where you should cut the money,” she said.