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[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Questions - Legislative programme. (16 Oct 2019)

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…..Deputy Micheál Martin: As every Deputy knows, in the past few years the reality of hard drugs has hit more and more communities. In places where heroin was unknown, even during tough times, young people have been targeted by the ruthless gangs who promote addiction and destruction for their own profit. The Taoiseach will be aware of the report of the Blanchardstown drugs and alcohol task force on a new and devastating trend of gangs recruiting young children to sell drugs for them. Deputy Curran has published a Bill to target the savages who recruit children as young as eight to sell drugs. Notwithstanding the paucity of legislation coming from his Department, would the Taoiseach agree that this is a measure to which he could contribute and which he could help to accelerate in order to ensure that it is passed as soon as possible?


The policy adopted in 2011 to permanently abolish a highly effective approach to local development has directly undermined the focus on helping communities in which there are high levels of drug use. Deputy Burton is correct that the social partnership framework facilitated a targeted approach and that an all-agency approach, in which central Government took a major role, has been replaced by one which is more fractured and lacking in any real central leadership. The Taoiseach indicated how much he admires the work of the north-east inner city task force but that is what we had in many of the areas which suffered most acutely from drugs. Why is an approach with more dedicated funding and central leadership not being extended to other areas?...


…..The Taoiseach: What is being done in the north-east inner city goes way beyond what was done in terms of community development under RAPID and other schemes. I have asked my Department, along with the Department for Rural and Community Development, to examine what we could do to learn from the north east inner city task force and apply it to areas of significant disadvantage around the country. We do not want to reinvent RAPID but we are considering an initiative that will enable us to learn from it, and from the north-east inner city task force.


Deputy Micheál Martin: What about Deputy Curran's Bill?


The Taoiseach: To which Bill is the Deputy referring?


Deputy Micheál Martin: The Bill aims to make it a criminal offence for gangs to use young people to sell drugs.


Deputy Joan Burton: It provides for sanctions against those who use young people to deliver drugs, sell drugs or gain entry to complexes where they deliver drugs. It is a real problem in Dublin.


The Taoiseach: I know it is a problem but I am not familiar with the Bill. I will check up on it.


Deputy Joan Burton: The Bill aims to sanction such activities. There is currently no such offence.


Deputy Micheál Martin: There is no such offence, but the Bill would provide for such a sanction. I ask the Taoiseach to give it further consideration.


The Taoiseach: I will. I am familiar with the issue but not with Deputy Curran's Bill. I will check up on it.

Item Type
Dail Debates
Publication Type
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Crime prevention, Policy
16 October 2019

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