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Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Questions on promised legislation.

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Questions on promised legislation. (24 Oct 2019)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/dail/2...


Deputy Seán Crowe: There is a commitment in the programme for Government to safeguarding our towns and villages from the sale and supply of illicit drugs on our streets that are destroying lives and communities and the quality of people's lives throughout the length and breadth of our land. Earlier this year, a report from the Blanchardstown Local Drugs and Alcohol Task Force highlighted that children were dealing drugs in the area. The report found that the average age of a drug runner was 13 years and the youngest reported was eight years. That is replicated across Dublin and, I am sure, in other towns and villages also. Are there any plans to amend legislation? One of the recommendations in this report was that there would be increased sentences for drug dealers who were using children in this way. There are also issues of drug dealing near schools. We need to have safe zones.

 

An Ceann Comhairle: The time is up, Deputy. I call Deputy Quinlivan on the same matter.

 

Deputy Maurice Quinlivan: The national drugs strategy was launched in July 2017. I said at the time that without additional funding it would not work. I firmly believe that, unfortunately, it is panning out to be the case. Recently, at a joint policing committee meeting in Limerick, I raised the issue of cocaine use in the city, especially among younger people, and I used the words "an epidemic". Those words were echoed by the Limerick Garda Chief Superintendent at the meeting who stated that a cocaine epidemic is the biggest problem facing Limerick gardaí. I ask the Tánaiste, and the Minister for Finance, to ensure that the funding for regional drug and alcohol forums that was cut in 2008 be restored as soon as possible and that the issue of drug dealing be officially addressed.

 

The Tánaiste: On the individual locations that have been referred to, I will ask the Minister of State, Deputy Catherine Byrne, to revert to the Deputy. She has responsibility for the national drugs strategy but this is a combination of both the national drugs strategy and the response by An Garda Síochána. Both cocaine and heroin are significant problems. The numbers of users of both have increased, not only in the capital but outside it also. The new national drugs strategy is aimed at responding to that, as is the approach of An Garda Síochána. More gardaí and more investment in An Garda Síochána is a necessity and that is happening.

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