Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 289 - Departmental expenditure [Foreign Affairs] [20956/09].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 289 - Departmental expenditure [Foreign Affairs] [20956/09]. (26 May 2009)

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289. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his Department’s annual spend on tackling problematic alcohol and illegal drug use respectively for each of the past three years. [20956/09]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Micheál Martin): The Department of Foreign Affairs, through its overseas development programme, Irish Aid, supports the work of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) through voluntary contributions. UNODC is mandated to assist Member States in their work against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.

Funding provided over the last three years is as follows:

2008: € 1,000,000;

2007: € 1,400,000;

2006: € 1,140,000.

In addition, under the Emigrant Support Programme, the Government has, over the past three years, allocated funding totalling over €41 million to support Irish communities overseas, including €15.183 million in 2008. The focus of this funding is on supporting voluntary sector organisations engaged in the delivery of key frontline welfare services to Irish communities abroad.

The culturally sensitive outreach, information and advisory services provided are targeted at the most vulnerable members of our overseas communities, including the elderly, the homeless and those suffering from addiction. Many of our most vulnerable emigrants experience a range of interlinked challenges, requiring the Government funded organisations to provide broad outreach services, which can include responses to alcohol or drug abuse. It is not possible, however, to provide specific figures on this programme’s annual spend on alcohol and illegal drug use.

The Deputy may also wish to be aware that a new Civil Service Alcohol and Drugs Misuse Policy was published recently by the Department of Finance. The policy sets out guidelines on addressing alcohol and/or drugs misuse and on supporting affected officers. It recognises that officers who disclose that they have a problem with alcohol and/or drugs need to be treated with sensitivity and discretion, and aims to provide guidance and to increase awareness among employees of alcohol and drug problems. In the context of the new policy, my Department will continue to support employees who may have drug and alcohol problems.

In the years specified by the Deputy, there were no instances which gave rise to expenditure specifically allocated to the provision of support to officers in my Department with alcohol and/or drug problems.

Vol. 683 No. 3
Written Answers
Tuesday, 26 May 2009

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