Home > Agreed Programme for Government – progress report 2008.

Pike, Brigid (2009) Agreed Programme for Government – progress report 2008. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 29, Spring 2009 , p. 6.

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On 24 September 2008 the first annual reports on progress in relation to the Agreed Programme for Government 2007-2012 were posted on the website of the Department of the Taoiseach.1 Progress in relation to drug- and alcohol-related initiatives is noted in the reports by the departments of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Health and Children, and Justice, Equality and Law Reform. A summary of the main achievements, as reported, follows.

 Drug-free prisons
An additional 155 prison staff have been appointed to allow for a drug-detection-dog service in the prisons, operational support units for search and intelligence gathering purposes, and enhanced security screening and searching of all persons entering prisons. Drug rehabilitation programmes for prisoners are being implemented with the support of specialist professionals such as nurses, psychologists and 24 addiction counsellors.
 
 Drug Treatment Court
The Department of Justice is examining the operation of the Court and officials are looking at best practice elsewhere to see how the Court's throughput levels might be increased to the benefit of recovering drug addicts and the wider community.
 
 Irish Sentencing Information System (ISIS)
The feasibility of providing a computerised information system on sentences and other penalties imposed for criminal offences is being examined. An appropriate IT system has been developed, a pilot has been operating since June 2006 in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, and a further pilot commenced in Cork Circuit Court in 2008.
 
Mandatory sentencing
In the course of 2009 a mechanism will be introduced for undertaking a formal annual review of the effectiveness of the new stringent mandatory sentence regime for drug crime introduced in the Criminal Justice Act 2007.
 
'Date rape' drugs
The creation of a new offence of supplying and administering date rape drugs is being considered in the context of the current provisions of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997.
 
Treatment for cocaine users
Evidence shows that most cocaine users are polydrug users and need to be treated for polydrug misuse and not solely for cocaine use. Consequently, the HSE has re-oriented its addiction services to address the needs arising from the changing patterns of drug use in the population. The HSE is also involved in developing community-based, stand-alone stimulant intervention services. Evidence also indicates that many approaches already in use in general addiction services work well with cocaine users. Funding is being provided for measures at local and regional drugs task force level to strengthen and further develop initiatives aimed at tackling cocaine use in local communities. These include locally-based awareness campaigns that dovetail with the HSE's national campaign.
 
 Rehabilitation
The planning and development of a minimum of 25 detoxification residential beds recommended in the Drugs Rehabilitation report will be addressed by the HSE in conjunction with the recommendation contained in the HSE Report of the Working Group on Residential Treatment and Rehabilitation Services. Steps are being taken to increase the numbers on drug-specific community employment scheme places from 1,000 to 1,300. Funding is being provided for rehabilitation initiatives at local and regional drugs task force level, and funding for the Family Support Network is being increased.
 
 Funding for community-based initiatives
Additional funding in 2008 was provided for the local and regional drugs task forces. Over 440 LDTF projects currently receive funding. Funding continued for the Premises Initiative Fund, and capital funding was also provided under the new Regional Youth Initiative, for the development of 16 dedicated youth facilities in RDTF areas not covered under the Young People's Facilities and Services Fund.
 
 Young People's Facilities and Services Fund (YPFSF)
Current funding supports the employment of over 350 youth and outreach workers, centre managers and administration staff, 24 sports development officers, and 13 co-funded 'Football in the Community' development officers. Following announcements earlier in 2008, the YPFSF will be extended to Arklow, Athlone, Dundalk and Wexford, and arrangements to transfer responsibility for the fund to the Office of the Minister for Youth Affairs and Children are being progressed.
 
Alcohol-related disorder
The Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 provides for measures to control alcohol-related disorder:
  • increased fines relating to alcohol-related disorder and associated anti-social behaviour may be imposed;
  • a Garda member may confiscate alcohol from under-18s in a public place;
  • a Garda member may direct persons in possession of alcohol in a public place to (a) surrender the alcohol, (b) desist from behaving in a disruptive manner, and (c) leave the area; and
  • the fine for supplying alcohol to under-18s has increased from €1,500 to €5,000.
 The Garda Síochána have identified areas subject to anti-social behaviour as hot spots, and additional foot and mobile patrols are directed to these areas during times when these offences are more likely to occur.
 
 Alcohol and good health
Strengthened codes aimed at reducing the exposure of young people to alcohol advertising and marketing are due to come into operation soon. A Working Group to examine the extent of alcohol sponsorships and the terms and length of existing contracts is to be established.
 
1. The Agreed Programme for Government 2007-2012 and the annual reports for 2008 are all available in the Publications section of the website of the Department of the Taoiseach at www.taoiseach.ie.  For a summary of the Agreed Programme, see Galvin B (2007) Draft programme for government. Drugnet Ireland. (22): 1.
Item Type:Article
Issue Title:Issue 29, Spring 2009
Date:2009
Page Range:p. 6
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 29, Spring 2009
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Available)
Subjects:MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Policy
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Government and politics

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