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Pike, Brigid (2009) In brief. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 31, Autumn 2009, p. 27.

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On 24 April 2009 Fear of crime in Ireland and its impact on quality of life was published by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The research had been commissioned by the former National Crime Council.1 The authors reported that a relationship was found between illicit drugs and concerns and fear about lawlessness and crime. They also observed a relationship between fear of crime and perceptions regarding the penalties for possession of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ drugs, and between fear of crime and respondents’ beliefs regarding how drug abuse and juvenile crime should be dealt with. www.justice.ie  

On 13 May 2009 the Economic and Social Research Institute published Investing in
education: combating educational disadvantage (Research Series No 6). The findings show that education is highly predictive of individual life-chances in Ireland: a Leaving Certificate qualification has become the ‘minimum’ to secure access to further education/training and high quality employment, among other outcomes. www.esri.ie
 
On 13 May 2009 the Health Service Executive published LGBT health: towards meeting the health care needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, a report of the findings from a mapping exercise undertaken for the HSE national social inclusion governance group. The report highlighted particular health issues experienced by the LGBT population, including the health impacts of higher levels of smoking, alcohol consumption and recreational drug use. A high incidence of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, substance misuse, self-harm and suicide, was also reported. www.hse.ie
 
On 14 May 2009 the Report of the Inspector of Mental Health Services for 2008 was published, together with the Annual Report of the Mental Health Commission for 2008. The Inspector reported that the management of alcohol-related problems was inconsistent: some consultant psychiatrists saw it as the function of the Mental Health Service to provide detoxification, whereas best practice would indicate that this should be carried out either in general hospitals or in primary care. Despite absence of an evidence base that residential alcohol treatment is more successful than outpatient programmes, many centres continued the ‘resource-sapping’ practice of hospitalisation. With regard to addiction psychiatry, the Inspector wrote that there is a clear need for mental health professionals to become and remain well versed in the problems associated with substance dependence, and identify and refer to the addiction services those patients where this is the primary problem. www.mhcirl.ie
 
On 21 May 2009 the National Commission on Restorative Justice publishedits Interim Report. The Report examines how restorative justice is applied in Ireland and in other jurisdictions and points to the research-based evidence abroad on the potential of restorative justice to combat crime. The Commission is due to publish its final report, with recommendations, later in 2009. www.justice.ie
 
On 26 May 2009 foetal alcohol spectrum disorders were the subject of an adjournment debate in Dáil Éireann. Deputy Áine Brady stated that,in order to create greater awareness of the risks, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has published a booklet entitled Women and alcohol, including advice to women to avoid alcohol in pregnancy, and the Department of Health is devising legislation to provide for mandatory labelling of alcohol containers advising of the risk of consuming alcohol during pregnancy. The HSE is also developing proposals for a new research project in a large maternity hospital to follow a cohort of women who drink alcohol during pregnancy in order to evaluate the impact on the infant’s condition at birth and subsequent development. (www.oireachtas.ie)
 
On 10 July 2009 the 2008 Annual Report from the Alcohol Marketing Communications Monitoring Body (AMCMB) was published. The AMCMB was established to monitor the level of adherence by advertisers and media owners to the Codes of Practice on Alcohol Marketing, Communications and Sponsorship. The Codes are intended to limit the exposure of children and young people to alcohol advertising in Ireland. The AMCMB concluded that there had been overall compliance in 2008. However, noting a number of breaches, it considered that the media partners to the Codes should ensure that they have proper procedures in place to prevent breaches occurring.
 
On 14 July 2009 the Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS) published Designing effective local responses to youth crime: a baseline analysis of the Garda Youth Diversion Projects. The first part of an improvement programme for Garda Youth Diversion Projects, this baseline analysis provides a qualitative profile of youth crime in each locality and analyses the way that Garda Youth Diversion Projects intend to effectively impact upon youth offending. Currently there are 100 projects located around the country, representing a €13 million investment annually in youth crime prevention. www.iyjs.ie
 
On 23 July 2009 the Courts Service annual report for 2008 was released. It reported among other matters that drug offence cases before the District Court had increased by 58% – to 15,658 from9,870 in 2007 – and that 18% of cases before the Circuit Court were for drug offences. www.courts.ie
 
In July 2009 three new pieces of criminal justice legislation were enacted targeting organised crime:
°       Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 makes provision for a statutory framework for the licensing of firearms, including handguns, which seeks to halt the emergence of a gun culture in Ireland.
°       Criminal Justice (Amendments) Act 2009 provides for additional measures with respect to combating organised crime and, in particular, with respect to countering the increased levels of violence towards, and intimidation of, members of the public perpetrated by criminal organisations and securing conditions in which offences committed by those associated with such organisations can, in due course of law, be investigated and prosecuted, and to amend the law in relation to the investigation of offences, including in relation to the detention of suspects and their re-arrest in certain circumstances, and to otherwise amend criminal law and procedure.
°       Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act 2009provides for a statutory framework for evidence obtained using covert surveillance which is to be used in criminal trials. It gives the Garda, Defence Forces and the Revenue a legal basis for surveillance to combat serious criminal, subversive or terrorist activity, and provides for a judicial authorisation procedure for surveillance. www.justice.ie 
 
(Compiled by Brigid Pike)
 
1.  The National Crime Council ceased operations in October 2008.
Item Type
Article
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Issue Title
Issue 31, Autumn 2009
Date
October 2009
Page Range
p. 27
Publisher
Health Research Board
Volume
Issue 31, Autumn 2009
EndNote
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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