Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 303 - Drug and Alcohol Task Forces [Ballymun] [19018/18].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 303 - Drug and Alcohol Task Forces [Ballymun] [19018/18]. (01 May 2018)

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303. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the status of cutbacks facing a community service (details supplied) in Dublin 11; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19018/18]


Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Every effort has been made to protect the budgets of Drug and Alcohol Task Forces in recent years. The overall allocation to Ballymun Drug and Alcohol Task Forces for community-based drugs initiatives in 2018 is in excess of €1.1m, the same amount was provided in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.


It is a matter for the Task Force to ensure that its budget is effectively deployed to meet current priorities and locally identified needs, taking into account the changing nature of the drugs phenomenon. Where possible, it is desirable that initiatives funded by task forces are mainstreamed into government funding.


Ballymun Local Drugs and Alcohol Task Force has informed the Department of Health that it has decided to cease supporting breakfast clubs from the end of June 2018 as alternative sources of public funding are available for school breakfasts through the Department of Social Protection's School Meals Programme. The task force intends to refocus its resources on individuals, children and families with the most acute needs and most risk due to drug/alcohol issues. The task force will assist schools in the area to apply for funding for breakfast clubs through this programme. Funding for the school meals programme in 2018 amounts to €54 million, up from €47.5 million in 2017. Some 18,400 more children and 80 newly designated DEIS schools will benefit from September 2018.


I am confident that the food and nutrition needs of children in the community service referred to by the Deputy can be met under this expanded programme.

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