Home > CityWide seeks new deal on drugs.

Connolly, Johnny and Morgan, Angela (2007) CityWide seeks new deal on drugs. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 22, Summer 2007, p. 22.

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On 16 April 2007 ‘Drugs – a new deal’, a campaign calling for action by government and state agencies, was launched by CityWide, an organisation which supports a network of community groups throughout the country working to tackle the drugs problem. In its summary report of the launch1 CityWide states: ‘Despite the significant progress that has been made since the National Drugs Strategy (NDS) was first established in 1996, we now face a problem that is continuing to escalate and that is damaging the lives of more and more people, more and more families, more and more communities’. The report proceeds to call for a ‘new deal to be put in place between the government, the state and local communities that recognises the scale and seriousness of the problem that is facing us all’. The ‘Drugs – a new deal’ campaign makes seven key demands of central government.  These are listed in the summary report: 

·         ‘Implement the National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008.’ According to CityWide, key commitments given as part of the NDS have not yet been met. The organisation wants ‘an immediate plan on how to fast track the implementation of all remaining actions’.

·         ‘Reinstate a full-time Government Minister with sole responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy.’  As reported on p. 1, the new Minister of State appointed on 20 June, Pat Carey TD, has responsibility for drugs strategy and community affairs, both included within the one ministerial portfolio.

·          ‘Make adequate budgets available to both Local Drug Task Forces (LDTFs) and Regional Drug Task Forces (RDTFs) for the development of drug services to respond to the crises in both heroin and cocaine use.’ According to CityWide, the budget for 2007 allocated no additional funding for the provision of new services in LDTF areas, despite what it refers to as ‘the growing cocaine problem, as highlighted in the recent NACD report,2 and the continuing heroin crisis'.

·         ‘Make available an immediate budget for the implementation of recommendations in the Rehabilitation Report.’ A rehabilitation report was published in early June by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. It makes recommendations for the development of rehabilitation services for drug users. CityWide is calling for adequate resources to be set aside to fund these recommendations.

·         ‘Implement immediately the action on setting up local Community Policing Fora.’ According to CityWide, people living in local communities affected by drug use have serious concerns around issues of personal safety and security. CityWide claims that the NDS provides for the establishment of Community Policing Fora (CPF) in 14 areas, but to date only three have been put in place.3 The organisation is calling for the remaining CPFs to be established.

·         ‘Commit to working in full partnership with local communities that are devastated by the drugs crisis.’ CityWide claims that in recent years there has been an ‘undermining of the local structures by central government’, and states that the government needs to display ‘ a commitment to re-engaging the community again, as happened in 1996’.

·         ‘Provide support for families to be involved as partners at LDTF and RDTF.’ CityWide claims that ‘family members have been among the most active members of the community in responding to the drugs crisis’, and they state that this contribution from families ‘needs to be recognised through their involvement in the local structures’. 

In the run-up to the recent general election, CityWide called for whatever party was elected to government to give an urgent political response to the drugs crisis. Speaking at the launch were a number of prominent politicians, including the Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte TD, Fine Gael TD Damien English, Sinn Fein TD Aengus O Snodaigh, Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins and Independent TD Finian McGrath. The government was represented by Fianna Fáil senator, Cyprian Brady. 

Issues raised at the launch included the increased prevalence of both cocaine and benzodiazepines within communities and the associated problems. The problem of alcohol misuse was also mentioned, as was the issue of waiting lists for methadone maintenance, with particular reference to the Ballyfermot area.  

1.       CityWide (2007) Summary of ‘Drugs – a new deal’ campaign launch. Retrieved 4 May 2007 from www.citywide.ie/resources/pubs/20070326162045.html 

2.       National Advisory Committee on Drugs and the National Drugs Strategy Team (2007) An overview of cocaine use in Ireland: II. Dublin: Stationery Office.

3.        CityWide (2007) Election 07: drugs in local communities. Retrieved 4 May 2007 from www.citywide.ie/download/doc/election_07.doc


Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Issue Title
Issue 22, Summer 2007
April 2007
Page Range
p. 22
Health Research Board
Issue 22, Summer 2007
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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