Home > Deputy Eamon Gilmore: This week The Irish Times published figures it had obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, which show that prisoners have tested positive for drugs in our prisons some 40,000 times over the past three years.

[Oireachtas] Deputy Eamon Gilmore: This week The Irish Times published figures it had obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, which show that prisoners have tested positive for drugs in our prisons some 40,000 times over the past three years. (19 Feb 2008)

URL: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2008/02/19/00006...

That has occurred in a prison population of 3,200. We are told that in some prisons 75% of the tests carried out have proved positive. In 25,000 of the 40,000 cases we are talking about opiates, including heroin. There is clearly a major drugs problem in our prisons but it is not a new problem from the Government's point of view.

In 1997, the programme for Government published by the Taoiseach and his colleagues stated: We will establish a custodial detention centre for convicted drug addicts and remand prisoners who are addicted, with all other prisons to be drug free. Having failed to deliver on this commitment, the Taoiseach and his colleagues had another go at it in the programme for Government in 2002, which stated: “By the end of 2002, we will publish a plan to completely end all heroin use in Irish prisons.” Having failed for a second time, there was another attempt in the 2007 programme for Government, which gave a commitment to “extend measures to make prisons drugs free”. The Government, over an 11-year period, has promised to make prisons drugs free but what it has delivered is prisons where drugs are freely available. By any standards, its drugs-free policy for prisons has been a failure. Will the Taoiseach explain how so many drugs are getting into prisons in the first place? If the State cannot keep drugs out of prisons, what hope is there of keeping drugs out of our communities? If drugs are available in such quantities in what are supposed to be safe places of detention, how on earth will we keep them out of places of entertainment? How does the Taoiseach respond to a sceptical member of the public who must wonder, given the quantity of drugs in prisons and the numbers of prisoners testing positive for drug use, whether there is not some type of unofficial policy of keeping prisoners drugged and perhaps quietened rather than addressing the use of drugs and access to drugs in prisons?

 Vol. 647 No. 3

Priority Questions

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Item Type:Dail Debates
Source:Oireachtas
Date:19 February 2008
EndNote:View
Subjects:J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health care programme or facility > Prison-based health service
MM-MO Crime and law > Justice system > Correctional system and facility > Prison
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
MM-MO Crime and law > Drugs and alcohol offence > Drug offence > Illegal transportation of drugs (smuggling / trafficking)
A Drugs and alcohol use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence of drugs and alcohol use

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