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Pike, Brigid (2010) In brief. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 34, Summer 2010, p. 28.

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On 19 January 2010 the Revenue Cutter Service was the subject of a response by Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan TD, to a Parliamentary Question (PQ). He stated that the Revenue Commissioners have two cutters involved in the patrol and monitoring of the State’s maritime jurisdiction and adjacent waters. The aim is to prevent, detect, intercept and seize prohibited and restricted goods (including narcotics) smuggled into or out of the State/EU. The cutters also co-operate with other national enforcement agencies and with international customs agencies in combating drugs trafficking by sea. www.oireachtas.ie 

On 2 February 2010 prescription drugs were the subject of a PQ. Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, stated: ‘Certain prescription medicines have been declared controlled drugs in accordance with the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 — for example, products containing morphine, methadone, flunitrazepam and possession of these products, in contravention of the Act, is an offence. Under the Misuse of Drugs (Exemption) Order 1988, it is not an offence for a person to possess prescription medicines containing certain benzodiazepines.’ www.oireachtas.ie
On 2 February 2010 Policing Priorities 2010 were announced by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern TD. In addition to the continuing fight against gangland crime (including targeting drug trafficking and low-level street dealing), the Minister has prioritised security; policing communities (including adopting a low tolerance to alcohol- and drug-related anti-social behaviour and youth crime); customer service; roads policing and human trafficking. The policing priorities set by the Minister are reflected in the Garda Síochána Policing Plan for 2010. www.garda.ie
On 25 February 2010, at the Irish Youth Justice Service’s2nd biennial conference, Barry Andrews TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, launched the online learning community YJforum for those working on Garda Youth Diversion Projects. This web-based forum provides an opportunity for practitioners working in the youth justice system to share their experiences and work together to strengthen the system. Copies of the presentations made at the conference, together with a Conference Report, are available on the IYJS website. www.iyjs.ie
On 18 February 2010 the Dial to Stop Drug Dealing campaign was the subject of a PQ.
Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, John Curran TD, stated: ‘Due to the success of the campaign, I have again made funding available in 2010 to keep the phone line open. Over the coming months, I will be reviewing various options for further promotional campaigns, perhaps through a more centralised approach or through potential linkages with other campaigns and fora.’ www.oireachtas.ie
On 23 February 2010 drug policy in the European Union was the subject of a public hearing, when approximately 40 representatives of European civil society organisations from 15 countries came together to formulate their recommendations to members of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council on the approach that the European Union should take regarding criminalised drugs. The main issue on the agenda was the Report on Global Illicit Drugs Markets 1998–2007, that was financed by the European Commission in 2008.1 The hearing resulted in recommendations to the EU institutions, including calls for (1) the organisation of a EU Summit to discuss innovative drug strategies not based on prohibition, with delegations of national and local authorities, parliamentarians and civil society organisations present, and (2) the strengthening of the ‘harm reduction’ approach, promoting drug policies that respect human rights, individual freedoms and social cohesion. www.encod.org
On 25 February 2010 an Internal Security Strategy for the European Union (5842/2/10) was approved by the Council for Justice and Home Affairs. The strategy lays out a European security model, which integrates action on law enforcement and judicial co-operation, border management and civil protection, with due respect for shared European values, such as fundamental rights. It identifies the main threats and challenges the EU is facing, including organised crime, cyber-crime, and drug and arms trafficking. The Council also adopted the decision to set up the Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI) (16515/09 and 5949/10). COSI's co-ordination role will concern, among other things, police and customs co-operation, external border protection and judicial co-operation in criminal matters relevant to operational co-operation in the field of internal security. The committee shall regularly report on its activities to the Council which, in return, shall keep the European Parliament and national parliaments informed. COSI will also be responsible for evaluating the general direction and efficiency of operational co-operation. www.consilium.europa.eu
On 9 March 2010 Cosc – the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence published a national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence for 2010–2014.  The report states: ‘Although the relationship between substance use and domestic and sexual violence is complex, there are clear indications that alcohol use, particularly heavy drinking and binge drinking, not only complicates the extent and nature of violence against women, particularly among intimate partners, it also increases the likelihood of re-assault and reduces the likelihood of perpetrators of domestic violence completing treatment.’ 
On 23 March 2010 the Drug Treatment Courtwas the subject of a PQ.Minister for Justice and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern TD, stated that a total of 374 people were referred to the Drugs Court from 2001 up to the end of 2009, with some 29 people successfully completing the programme. The Department of Justice and Law Reform is examining the operation of the Court to see how throughput might be increased. www.oireachtas.ie
On 23 March 2010 the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) programme was the subject of a PQ. Minister for Education and Science, Batt O’Keeffe TD, stated: ‘Although the Walk Tall Support Service will no longer exist in its current guise, it is my intention that the support for substance misuse prevention be further integrated into SPHE support. It is widely acknowledged that while a strand of SPHE can be taught in isolation, it should be linked to each of the other strands of the SPHE curriculum in order to be at its most effective.’ www.oireachtas.ie
On 31 March 2010 Ireland’s proposed National Substance Misuse Strategy was mentioned by the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mary Hanafin TD, during Question Time in Dáil Éireann: ‘The Department [of Tourism, Culture and Sport] is also represented on a steering group developing proposals for an overall national substance misuse strategy. The group is chaired by the Department of Health and Children and the office of the Minister of State with responsibility for drugs. Part of the strategy will relate to preventative measures and the subjects of sports and arts activities are expected to be included within this framework.’ www.oireachtas.ie
(Compiled by Brigid Pike)
1.For a summary of the report, see Connolly J and Donovan AM (2009) A report on global illicit drug markets. Drugnet Ireland,(30): 23–24.
Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Issue Title
Issue 34, Summer 2010
Page Range
p. 28
Health Research Board
Issue 34, Summer 2010
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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