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Home > 22. Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the action his Department has taken to implement the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in relation to the report received by that committee in July 2006 on cannabis use; if he or his officials have met that report group since; the results of such a meeting or meetings. [5583/08]

[Oireachtas] 22. Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the action his Department has taken to implement the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in relation to the report received by that committee in July 2006 on cannabis use; if he or his officials have met that report group since; the results of such a meeting or meetings. [5583/08]. (14 Feb 2008)

External website: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2008/02/14/00036...


Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Pat Carey):   In December 2006 my predecessor as Minister of State with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, Mr. Noel Ahern, T.D., met with the Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in relation to the report on cannabis that it published the previous July. At that meeting he outlined his position, which I support, with respect to the seven recommendations of the report.

Some of the recommendations of the report deal with issues such as the provision of support for further neurobiological and clinical research and the provision of integrated treatment programmes for those with concurrent mental illness and substance abuse issues. While in broad terms I have no difficulty with the points raised, these issues fall under the remit of the Department of Health & Children, at a policy level, and the Health Service Executive, at an operational level.

The report also called for a National Strategy on the cannabis problem and for public information campaigns focusing on that drug. I think that it is more effective to continue to tackle drugs through a comprehensive National Drugs Strategy, covering all illicit drugs including cannabis. This is particularly so now as there is increasing evidence of polydrug use. The National Drugs Awareness Campaign, led by the HSE and which I launched earlier this week, is focused on cocaine use among younger people as available evidence suggests that this should be a priority at this time. Meanwhile, cannabis has continued to be targeted by the Gardaí and the Customs Service of the Revenue Commissioners, as evidenced by the recent cannabis seizure in Co. Kildare valued at €10m.

I have initiated the process that will lead to the development of a new National Drugs Strategy for the period 2009-2016. I already attended at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in January and I stressed that I would welcome their input to that process. I also intend that any new Strategy will tackle the problems associated with all illicit drugs, including cannabis.

Vol. 647 No. 2
Written Answers
Thursday, 14 February 2008

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