Ó Ríordáin dismayed at long-fingering of injecting centres

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
15 June 2016

Labour Party Senator and former Minister with responsabilty for the National Drugs Strategy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has criticised the announcement today by Minister Simon Harris that the Misuse of Drugs Bill is to be divided up with the introduction of Medically Supervised Injecting Centres to be long-fingered indefinitely.

In response to a question tabled by Senator Lynn Ruane in the Seanad this morning Minister Harris confirmed his intention to separate the Misuse of Drugs Bill into two parts.

The Minister intends to continue with the flawed approach to criminalising addiction in the first bill, and then to have the section dealing with Injecting Centres to be dealt with in a separate piece of legislation.

Effectively it would appear that Fine Gael are not prioritising those dying of heroin overdoses on our streets but rather want to give the impression of tough action.

The Medically Supervised Injecting Centre proposal was passed by cabinet at the end of the last government. Despite the commitment in the Programme for Government that the Centres would be rolled out, it would appear that without Labour’s influence any progressive move in drug policy has all but disappeared.

It is clear that Fine Gael ministers want to give the impression of action but want to delay any move that doesn’t fit with their “law and order” approach to social problems.

There is absolutely no reason for this important legislation to be progressed through two separate bills. I am calling on the Minister to proceed with the bill as endorsed by cabinet in December 2015 and not to succumb to the conservative instincts that have achieved nothing in this area for generations.

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