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Home > 16. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the position regarding the ongoing consultations in relation to the new national drugs strategy. [24736/08]

[Oireachtas] 16. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the position regarding the ongoing consultations in relation to the new national drugs strategy. [24736/08]. (26 Jun 2008)

URL: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/Debates%20A...


25. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the position of the national drugs strategy; the number of persons who attended each area meeting; the number of individuals or organisations that made submissions to the review group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24964/08]

Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy John Curran): I propose to take Questions Nos. 16 and 25 together.

As part of the process of developing the next National Drugs Strategy, to cover the period 2009-2016, the Steering Group, chaired by my Department, is currently completing a comprehensive series of consultation meetings. I am attending as many of these meetings as possible as I see them as being a key part of the process of developing the new Strategy. The consultation process includes:

public consultation meetings at 15 locations;

written/e-mail submissions;

meetings with relevant Departments/Statutory Agencies;

meetings with key sectoral groups and organisations;

focus groups meetings; and

engagement with the Oireachtas.

All 15 public consultation meetings have now been held, with reports on all except the final meeting in Croke Park now available on my Department’s website, www.pobail.ie. The report from this session will be available within the next week. The feedback received from attendees at these sessions was very favourable and people felt that there was good interaction, with ample opportunity for people to air their views and opinions. The total attendance over the 15 meetings was a little over 1,200, giving an average attendance of approx. 80 people. Details of the attendances at each of the 15 public meetings are provided in the attached table. To date, over 120 submissions by e-mail and in writing have been received from various organisations and individuals. The Deputies should note that next Monday, 30th June, is the closing date for receipt of submissions.

With regard to the other elements of the consultation process, most of the meetings with Departments and Agencies have been held at this stage, and the Steering Group has started to meet with the key sectoral groups and the focus groups. All in all, it is hoped to have the overall consultation process — which will involve about 45 meetings in total — completed around mid July. Meanwhile, I would encourage Oireachtas Members to input to the process in their capacity as elected representatives — and, in this context, I understand that Deputy Ó Snodaigh attended one of the public meetings in Dublin. I recognise that the current Strategy grew out of a political consensus in the late 1990s and I would welcome a continuation of that broad approach.

Last week, I attended a debate in the Seanad that afforded Senators an opportunity to contribute to the process and I will be meeting with the Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs on 24 September to hear their views. The views of Deputies and Senators will continue to be welcome as the Strategy is being formulated over the coming months. Following the consultation process, work on the finalisation of proposals will continue with a view to having a new Strategy developed by the end of the year.

 

National Drugs Strategy Attendances at Public Consultation Meetings April-June 2008


 

Venue Attendance
Dún Laoghaire 85
Athlone 30
Hilton Dublin Airport Hotel 75
Galway 100
Gorey 70
Tallaght 120
Sligo 70
Dublin City (Southside) 49
Portlaoise 30
Limerick 110
Tralee 65
Cork 140
Waterford 75
Dundalk 75
Croke Park 125


 

National Drugs Strategy Attendances at Public Consultation Meetings April-June 2008

Vol. 657 No. 5
Written Answers
Thursday, 26 June 2008

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