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Pike, Brigid (2010) In brief. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 33, Spring 2010 , p. 29.

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On 10 September 2009 the European Communities (Road Haulage and Road Passenger Transport Operator’s Licences) Regulations 2009 (SI No 318 of 2009) came into effect. In the Dáil on 5 November, Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey TD explained that this regulation automatically disqualifies from holding a road transport operator’s licence any operator who has serious convictions in a number of specific areas, including drug-trafficking, money laundering and firearms offences. Any licensee continuing to operate while disqualified risks receiving a maximum fine of €500,000 or three years in prison, or both. www.attorneygeneral.ie  

On 4 November 2009 the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) published its 22nd report. In assessing current activities by republican paramilitary groups the IMC reported, ‘we note that a factor behind the increase in the number of attacks in some nationalist areas appears to have been the growth of vigilante organisations which claim to want to “clean up” (their term) anti-social behaviour. Two such groupings are Concerned Families Against Drugs in Belfast and Republican Action Against Drugs in Derry. We believe that both these groups have undertaken attacks, including the use of pipe-bombs.’ With regard to loyalist paramilitary groups, the IMC reported in relation to the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) that, ‘notwithstanding the efforts of some in the leadership to reduce criminality [including drug dealing, robbery, extortion and the supply of contraband cigarettes], some senior figures remain directly involved or give their personal approval.’
 
On 13 November 2009the British–Irish Council (BIC) held its thirteenth Summit meeting in Jersey. The meeting heard that the Sectoral Group on the Misuse of Drugs had held three Senior Official meetings in 2009. (1) In March, Guernsey briefed the group on the introduction of their new legislation to ban Spice and other psychoactive substances. (2) In May, Dr Suzi Lyons of the Alcohol and Drugs Research Unit of the Health Research Board gave a presentation to the group on the development and the content of Ireland’s National Drug-Related Deaths Index. (3) The September meeting focused on prevention and on how Scotland was raising awareness in the overall population of the dangers of drug use through their national Know the Score campaign. www.britishirishcouncil.org
 
On 19 November 2009the Defence Forces policy on drugswas the subject of a Parliamentary Question. Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea TD stated: ‘A Compulsory Random Drug Testing (CRDT) programme aimed at deterrence was introduced in October 2002. Since then, 10,178 tests have been conducted with 41 tests yielding a positive result (4.0%). To date, a total of 25 members have been discharged as a result of a positive test result.’ www.oireachtas.ie
 
On 2 December 2009 the numbers employed by drugs task forces were the subject of a Parliamentary Question. Minister of State John Curran TD responded that in 2009the number of people employed in the task forces and receiving funding from the Department’s Drugs Initiative was 34 in the local drugs task forces at a cost of €1.583 million, and 20 in the regional drugs task forces at a cost of €926,000. The Minister noted that some of these people worked in a part-time or job-sharing capacity; that in some instances, the task forces employed the people directly, while in others a task forceproject or other local organisation acted as a host employer; and that the task force co-ordinators were employed by the HSE. www.oireachtas.ie
 
On 9 December 2009 the Board of the Homeless Agency Partnership acknowledged significant advances in addressing homelessness in Dublin, including a decline in rough sleeping, implementation of a new model of homeless services, and localisation of homeless services across city and county. Cathal Morgan, director of the Homeless Agency, commented, ‘This decline coincides with the intensive collaborative working that has taken place between all statutory and voluntary members of the Homeless Agency Partnership in identifying and securing long-term tenancies for people who currently reside in temporary forms of accommodation in homeless services.’ www.homelessagency.ie

On 15 December 2009 the Children’s Mental Health Coalition (CMHC) was launched in central Dublin. Comprising more than 35 organisations, the coalition will lobby the government on four key demands in relation to mental health services and the education, care and criminal justice systems. Its aim is to bring to life the vision as set out in the State’s mental health policy – A vision for changewww.childrensmentalhealth.ie

On 1 January 2010 the Spanish EU Presidency commenced. In its programme for the first six months of the year, the Spanish Presidency endorses the new Stockholm Programme, which provides the framework for EU police and customs co-operation, including tackling drug trafficking, for the period 2010–2014. This programme replaces the Hague Programme, which similarly addressed the issue of drug trafficking at EU level, and which expired at the end of 2009.

On 25 January 2009 the Children’s Rights Alliance (CRA), a coalition of over 90 NGOs working to secure the rights and needs of children in Ireland, launched its second annual ‘report card’, Is the government keeping its promises to children? With regard to protecting children from the negative consequences of alcohol use, the government was given an ‘F’ – ‘a fail, and a significant drop from last year’s “D’’’. The report card states that the government has failed to move on recommendations made by the Strategic Task Force on Alcohol in relation to ‘protecting children’, and its decision to reduce the price of alcohol in Budget 2010 was a step that will ‘undermine children’s wellbeing’. The CRA called on the government to introduce a legislative ban to protect children from unnecessary exposure to alcohol marketing; the current voluntary advertising code is not seen as effective. www.childrensrights.ie
Item Type:Article
Issue Title:Issue 33, Spring 2010
Date:19 April 2010
Page Range:p. 29
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 33, Spring 2010
EndNote:View
Subjects:VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health services, substance use research
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Policy > Policy on substance use
VA Geographic area > Europe

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