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Pike, Brigid (2007) Outgoing government reports on drug initiatives. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 23, Autumn 2007, p. 4.

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In April 2007 the final departmental reports on the completion of An agreed programme for government, which set out the priorities of the Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats coalition government 2002–2007, were released.1  They include updates on the five drug-related initiatives not included in the National Drugs Strategy 2001–2008. 

We will provide for compulsory drugs testing of prisoners where appropriate.

The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform stated:  ‘Section 35 of the Prisons Act 2007 provides that the Minister may make rules for the regulation and good government of prisons. In line with this provision, the Prison Rules 2007 are currently in the final stages of being drafted. It is envisaged that the new rules will come into effect approximately three months after the enactment of the Bill. … Amongst other things, the new Rules will provide for the compulsory testing and searching of prisoners for drugs and other contraband. Under the Rules it shall be a breach of prison discipline for a prisoner to be found in possession of any controlled drug or medicinal product other than that which has been prescribed by the prison medical authorities. A prisoner shall also, if requested by a person acting on the authority of the prison governor, provide samples of urine, saliva, oral buccal transudate or hair for the purpose of detecting the presence of intoxicating liquor, controlled substances or medicinal products.’ 

Where a person has been found to be involved in the supply of drugs to a prisoner we will introduce a stiffer penalty.

We will require convicted drug dealers to register with the Gardaí after leaving prison.

The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform reported that relevant provisions in respect of both these initiatives had been included in the Criminal Justice Act 2006, and Commencement Orders made. 

We will ensure that an early warning system, involving all key agencies, is in place to track the potential spread of heroin into new areas.

The Department of Community, Rural and  Gaeltacht Affairs reported, ‘… the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) has sought expressions of interest from appropriate bodies to develop a Drug Trend Monitoring System (DTMS) as part of its current work programme and these are due in April 2007. If progressed, such a system will collect primary data, as well as analysing secondary data on a range of drug use indicators in order to identify nationwide trends in drug use, including the spread of heroin use outside of Dublin.’ 

We will continue to prioritise heroin and cocaine for intervention, and will publish separate national targets for supply reduction for each major type of drug.

            The Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs reported, ‘The increased use and spread of cocaine has emerged as a particular threat, and in late 2006, the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) and the National Drugs Strategy Team (NDST) compiled a briefing paper on cocaine and a presentation covering this and other drug related issues was made to the Cabinet Committee on Social Inclusion. Implementation of the recommendations in the cocaine paper are being progressed with the relevant Departments and agencies.’ (In its 2005 Progress Report, the government reported that it had accepted the existing key performance indicators in the National Drugs Strategy, and would not specify separate targets for each major type of drug.)            

The drugs issue and social inclusion

In its Agreed Programme, under the heading ‘Building an inclusive society’, the government included an action to promote and pilot local corporate social responsibility initiatives, for example, in areas affected by drugs and social or rural disadvantage. In its final progress report in respect of this action, the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs stated, ‘Government has established a Forum on Philanthropy to examine ways of facilitating greater levels of philanthropic activity within Ireland. The Department has provided funding of €100,000 per annum to Philanthropy Ireland in support of this initiative.’ 

                  Under the heading ‘Regenerating urban communities’, the government pledged to continue the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund (YPFSF) and complete a comprehensive survey of the availability of recreation facilities in disadvantaged areas. In its final report, the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs stated:  ‘To date, the focus of the YPFSF has been in the 14 LDTF areas, as well in the four urban centres of Limerick, Waterford, Galway and Carlow. Overall to date, approximately €109m has been allocated to support projects employing around 330 people. … 108 services projects, with an annual cost of approximately €7.6m, were evaluated and mainstreamed to the Department of Education and Science between 2004 and 2006. They continue to receive annual funding directly from that Department. Expenditure under the YPFSF in 2006 amounted to just over €15.5m (€5.8m capital; €9.7m current).’ 

1. Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats (2002) An agreed programme for government between Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats. Dublin: Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats. See Drugnet Ireland, Issues 8, 12 and 16 for updates on the annual Progress Reports for 2003, 2004 and 2005. No progress report was released in 2006. The final departmental progress reports are available on the website of the Department of the Taoiseach www.taoiseach.gov.ie. Retrieved on 15 June 2007.

Item Type
Article
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Policy
Issue Title
Issue 23, Autumn 2007
Date
July 2007
Page Range
p. 4
Publisher
Health Research Board
Volume
Issue 23, Autumn 2007
EndNote
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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