Home > 35. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the fact that the dial to stop drug dealing phoneline looks set to close in autumn 2009...[23835/09]

[Oireachtas] 35. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the fact that the dial to stop drug dealing phoneline looks set to close in autumn 2009...[23835/09]. (17 Jun 2009)

URL: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2009/06/17/00032...


35. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs  his views on the fact that the dial to stop drug dealing phoneline looks set to close in autumn 2009, if not earlier, in view of the fact that it has received more than 2,200 calls generating approximately 600 information reports for gardaí to follow up; and if he will arrange for a small portion of the drug-related moneys confiscated by the Criminal Assets Bureau to be ringfenced to secure the future of the phoneline or make a commitment that alternative funding will be made available. [23835/09]

56. Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of calls made to the dial to stop drug dealing phone line to date; the number of information reports for gardaí that this has generated; and if he will reverse his decision to let this valuable and cost effective tool in the fight against drugs close down once funding runs out which it is envisaged will happen in the early autumn 2009, if not sooner. [23868/09]

61. Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans for the future of the dial to stop drug dealing hotline scheme; the number of areas in which it currently operates; if it is intended to provide adequate funding to allow it to continue in these areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23854/09]

73. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans for the future of the dial to stop drug dealing hotline scheme; the number of hotlines currently operating; the number he expects to be in operation at the end of 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23858/09]

Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy John Curran):  I propose to take Questions Nos. 35, 56, 61 and 73 together.

The Dial-to-Stop Drug Dealing Campaign was officially launched on 30 September 2008. The first phase ran across the following five Task Force areas in late 2008:

Blanchardstown LDTF;

Tallaght LDTF;

Dublin North East LDTF;

Dublin North Inner City LDTF;

South-Western RDTF;

Following Government approval, funding was allocated from the Dormant Accounts Fund for ten further campaigns divided into two phases. These have now been rolled out in the following Task Force areas in recent months:

Cork LDTF and Southern RDTF (23rd March);

Co. Kerry (25th March);

North Dublin City and County RDTF (31st March);

Mid-West RDTF (2nd April);

South East RDTF (27th April);

East Coast RDTF (12th May);

Dun Laoghaire LDTF (18th May);

Bray LDTF (19th May);

Finglas Cabra LDTF (22nd May);

Midlands RDTF (22nd May).

In relation to funding, phase one of the campaign was funded by my Department (€100,000) and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform (€50,000). The Dormant Accounts funding of €300,000 is once-off in nature and is the total that has been allocated. As the allocation for funding for drugs initiatives in my Department in 2009 is fully committed, I regret that there is no scope, at present, for further campaigns. Neither do I envisage any additional campaigns in 2010.

While the suggestion that a portion of drugs related money confiscated by the Criminal Assets Bureau funding be ringfenced to fund campaigns of this nature is an interesting one, it raises a number of difficulties. The Constitution requires, and Government accounting principles provide, that public moneys be spent as voted or approved by Dáil Éireann, unless otherwise provided by statute. It would be contrary to the normal Estimates process if we were to ring-fence moneys obtained by the Exchequer and reallocate them for a specific purpose.

The Deputies should note that all of the Task Forces were consulted to assess their interest in rolling out a local campaign. While several opted not to run one, I am satisfied that, with the available funding, the majority of the Task Force areas have been engaged in the process. In this context, I would like to point out that the campaign confidential number is open for all to use, regardless of the area they come from.

Overall, the campaign has proved to be very successful. To date, there have been in excess of 3,300 calls to the phone-line that have generated over 920 information reports to the Gardaí.

It should also be noted that from the outset the Dial-to-Stop Drug Dealing Campaign was to run over a discrete period of time. This was based on the findings from the initial pilot project in Blanchardstown which found that the vast majority of calls were received early in the campaign following its launch. I recently launched the final part of the campaign in Athlone, which will cover the Midlands RDTF area. The line will remain open until approximately September.

Question No. 36 answered with Question No. 29.

37. Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of meetings he has had with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform to provide up dates as to each Department’s programme and progress in regard to the reduction of the use of illicit substances; the progress made at such meetings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23849/09]

Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy John Curran):  I have had regular meetings with the Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform (D/JE&LR) since my appointment as Minister of State with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy and the Deputy will be aware that I also hold office at that Department in the context of my appointment as Minister for Integration. In their overall co-ordinating role in respect of the Strategy, my officials are also in on-going contact with that Department.

As chairperson of the Inter-departmental Group on Drugs, I meet with senior officials of various agencies, including the D/JE&LR, on a quarterly basis. That Department is also represented on the interim Drugs Advisory Group which I currently chair and which meets on a fortnightly basis. Apart from these Groups, meetings and contact between myself, my officials and the D/JE&LR continue on an on-going basis in regard to the efforts to reduce the use of illicit substances.

Indeed, the D/JE&LR has been centrally involved in the work to develop a new Drugs Strategy. They, along with the Gardaí, the Irish Prison Service, and the Probation Service, were all represented on a Steering Group, chaired by my Department, which developed the new Strategy. The Steering Group met on 33 occasions over the past year or so and their work also included formal meetings with senior officials of various Departments, including the D/JE&LR. The Government approved the new Strategy yesterday.

The Gardaí and the Probation Services are represented on Drug Task Forces and this facilitates their involvement in drug issues at a local and regional level. Also, drugs issues are addressed through Local Policing Fora and, increasingly, through the Joint Policing Committees that are being established throughout the country. Furthermore, in the context of drugs as a global problem, officials in the D/JE&LR and my Department co-operate fully in regard to representation at drugs fora at EU and UN level.

Overall, I am fully satisfied with our level of co-operation and co-ordination with the D/JE&LR in the continuing effort to disrupt the supply of drugs to this country and to reduce of the overall use of illicit substances.

 

Vol. 685 No. 1
Written Answers. National Drugs Strategy
Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Item Type:Dail Debates
Source:Oireachtas
Date:17 June 2009
EndNote:View
Subjects:VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
MM-MO Crime and law > Crime > Substance related crime

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