Home > Programme for Government 2011–2016: measures that may impact indirectly on the drugs issue.

Pike, Brigid (2011) Programme for Government 2011–2016: measures that may impact indirectly on the drugs issue. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 38, Summer 2011, pp. 4-5.

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In the last issue of Drugnet Ireland, the directly drug-related measures contained in the new Programme for Government were outlined.1 Other measures included under the broad heading of Fairness in the new Programme, which may be expected to impact indirectly on the drugs issue, are noted below.2 

Health and mental health
The proposed Universal Health Insurance (UHI) will guarantee equal access to care for all, in both the primary care and the hospital systems. There will be no discrimination on the grounds of income or insurance status: in line with the European principle of social solidarity, access will be according to need and payment will be according to ability to pay.
The government intends to establish an Integrated Care Agency to oversee the flow of resources between the different arms of the health system, in order to incentivise the provision of care in the best setting.
With regard to mental health, the government endorses the recommendations contained in A vision for change. Ring-fenced funding will be provided to recruit additional psychologists and counsellors to community mental health teams, working closely with primary care teams to ensure early intervention, reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and detect and treat people who are at risk of suicide.
The government states that ‘education is at the heart of a more cohesive, more equal and more successful society’. As resources allow, it will invest in a targeted early childhood education programme for disadvantaged children, building on existing targeted pre-school supports for families most in need of assistance such as the Ballymun Youth Action project.
Having considered the recommendations contained in the review of DEIS, the government will use DEIS as the platform for new initiatives to deliver better outcomes for students in disadvantaged areas. It will also examine how to make existing expenditure on educational disadvantage more effective, and innovative ways in which teenagers at risk of leaving the school system may stay connected, for example through use of ICT-based distance learning and projects such as iScoil.
Believing that prevention is better than cure, the government pledges to aggressively target the root causes of homelessness. By having a dedicated body to co-ordinate policy across government, it will target initiatives across departmental domains that will help to prevent problems like homelessness. The government is also committed to ending long-term homelessness and the need to sleep rough. It intends to review and update the existing Homeless Strategy, including a specific focus on youth homelessness. It endorses the ‘housing first’ approach, first championed in Ireland by the Homeless Agency in Dublin. Finally, the government is committed to urban regeneration to revitalise communities in areas such as Limerick in order to give families a better quality of life.
Justice and law reform
Anti-social behaviour, viewed as ‘so destructive of community life’, will be tackled through strengthening existing interventions such as community policingpartnerships and forums,   community policing, and alternative programmes for juvenile offenders such as the Juvenile Liaison Officer Scheme, the Garda Juvenile Diversion Programme, and the use of restorative justice measures. A 12-month probationary period will be imposed on all new tenants public or social housing, and where tenants engage in anti-social behaviour during this probationary period, the tenancy will be terminated. The government also plans to examine outcomes-based contracts with community organisations to help reduce reoffending by young people, based on the social impact bond model in the UK.
The prison inspectorate is to be strengthened. The office of the Inspector of Prisons will be put on a statutory footing. The Inspector of Prisons will make an annual report to the Minister for Justice and the Oireachtas Justice Committee, and will be empowered to appear before that Committee on such other occasions as may be appropriate. Prison visiting committees will furnish their reports to the Inspector of Prisons who will be under an obligation to publish them.
Equality and social protection
Reiterating the principle of social solidarity, already mentioned in relation to health, the government pledges to tackle Ireland’s economic crisis in a fair and balanced way. It lists a raft of measures to tackle poverty and protect the most vulnerable in society including those on social welfare benefits, the low paid, and the self-employed. With regard to child poverty, the government will ‘adopt a new area based approach to child poverty, which draws on best international practice and existing services to tackle every aspect of child poverty. Initially, this model will be rolled out to up to ten of Ireland’s most disadvantaged communities, in cooperation with philanthropic partners.
(Compiled by Brigid Pike)
1.Connolly J, Pike B, Keane M and Lyons S (2011) Drugs policy in the new programme for government. Drugnet Ireland, (37): 1–2.
2.Fine Gael and the Labour Party (2011) Government for National Recovery 2011–2016. https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation/department-of-the-taoiseach/
Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Issue Title
Issue 38, Summer 2011
Page Range
pp. 4-5
Health Research Board
Issue 38, Summer 2011
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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