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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Order of Business [Application of cautions].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Order of Business [Application of cautions]. (09 Jul 2019)

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Deputy Brendan Howlin: It is reported that An Garda Síochána and the Director of Public Prosecutions, DPP, are developing a system that will allow for the application of an adult caution, rather than a criminal prosecution, for people in possession of drugs for their own use. Apparently this is a recommendation in a Government working group report but this report has not been published and has not been presented to, let alone approved by, the Government. Who is in charge of this initiative? Where does it come from? Under what authority are public agencies developing what is a new policy, apparently without the authority of a formal Government decision or the chance for us all to debate it? The initiative might be very good but we would like to have the opportunity to debate and discuss it in this House. How does that decision sit with the view of Government on criminal justice matters?   

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): The working group was very important and I thank those who took part in it. The Ministers for Justice and Equality and for Health and I have reviewed the report and are finalising a memorandum on it to go to Government and it is hoped to take it in the next couple of weeks before the recess. 

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Why is the policy being decided before the report is given to Government? 

The Taoiseach: There is no policy being decided. 

Deputy Catherine Byrne: The report was drawn up by a working group and was presented to me and the Ministers for Justice and Equality and Health.  

The report examined how we could approach the possession of drugs for personal use as a health issue rather than criminal justice issue, which we all support. I will speak to the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Flanagan, later about progress in this regard and bring the matter to the Taoiseach's attention after the publication of the report.

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