Home > Dail Eireann debate. Questions on promised legislation [Youth and drugs].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Questions on promised legislation [Youth and drugs]. (08 Mar 2018)

Deputy Dessie Ellis: I wish to raise the Government's drugs policy as outlined in the programme for Government. My concern is a development I am increasingly hearing about, namely, the grooming of children to sell or carry drugs for drug dealers. I have a real concern that this is the next child exploitation scandal. Children can be attracted by the false glamour and material wealth of drug dealers and gangsters. Drug dealers are increasingly seeing children as a business opportunity. For drug dealers children are cheap, expendable, easily controlled and often able to operate under the Garda's radar. Grooming of children for criminal exploitation is very similar to grooming for sexual exploitation. We need a system that can deal with child victims who will also become offenders.


Are there any plans to bring forward legislation to tackle this exploitation of children? Has the Government even considered it and has the Cabinet even looked at it?


The Tánaiste: Strong legislation and laws are already in place to counteract gangland crime, which abuses and uses teenagers as carriers in the drug trade. An Garda Síochána is very focused on it and has had some success. We also have a comprehensive new national drugs strategy and the Minister of State, Deputy Byrne, has led on this. In terms of the issue referred to by the Deputy with regard to children being abused by predominantly gangland activity, it is something An Garda Síochána is very aware of.

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