Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 930 - Drugs crime [Ecstasy & the internet] [35486/13]

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 930 - Drugs crime [Ecstasy & the internet] [35486/13]. (16 Jul 2013)

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930. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he had been in contact with his counterparts in Europe, particularly the Netherlands, on the use of a number of websites which provide graphic details on ecstasy in view of the recent deaths from use of ecstasy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35486/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): While this issue has not arisen specifically in my personal contacts with other EU Ministers I can advise the Deputy that the following comprehensive measures are in place for addressing such issues.

At European level the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) monitors and reports on the nature and extent of drug use and related issues in Europe. There are also a number of fora for discussion through which drugs issues of concern may be raised by the EU Member States on an ongoing basis including, for example, the Horizontal Drugs Group. In addition, the Member States recently agreed a EU Action Plan on Drugs for the period 2013-2016 which includes actions to raise awareness of the risks and consequences associated with the use of illicit drugs and other psychoactive substances.

Furthermore through the mechanism of the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol, in place under our National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016, any concerns with regard to the emergence of new trends or early warnings regarding drug use can be fed into the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction through the Irish focal point which resides in the Health Research Board. In addition, a HSE led early warning alert system to notify front-line health and drugs related services and the general public of drug use emergencies is in place. There are also state supported websites such as Drugs.ie which provide appropriate drugs information.

Regarding the internet the Deputy may be aware that any suspected illegal content online may be reported by members of the public to the Hotline service at www.hotline.ie. Where there is any concern that there is illegal activity being facilitated by a particular website this is a matter which should be reported to the Hotline service and/or to An Garda Síochána. The hotline is operated by the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland (ISPAI) and it is overseen by the Office for Internet Safety, an Executive Office in my Department. The hotline provides a central point of contact for members of the public who become aware of child pornography or any other illegal content on the Internet in Ireland. The hotline accepts reports about such material and attempts to identify the source. If the material is hosted in Ireland, it will request the relevant internet service provider to remove it, in accordance with the ISPAI Code of Practice and Ethics. The hotline liaises with the Gardaí as appropriate.

To provide a fast response to illegal material that is hosted outside the Irish jurisdiction, the Hotline is a member of INHOPE, the international organisation of Internet Hotlines. Not all countries have an Internet hotline service and in cases where potentially illegal material is identified by the Hotline as located in such countries, it will forward the report to a specific contact point in An Garda Síochána for transmission and action through international law enforcement channels.

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