Citizens’ Assembly on drugs must be a priority for the new Government

10 September 2020
  • Taoiseach needs to prioritise this
  • Mulvey Commission needed for Northside and Drogheda

A Citizens’ Assembly on drugs must be a priority according to Labour T.D Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin was speaking after addressing Minister of State, Frank Feighan in the Dáil.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“There was a lot of debate this evening in relation to access services for people impacted by alcohol addiction but no debate on the ongoing drugs crisis. We are in a pandemic situation in relation to the drugs crisis with the third highest overdose rate in Europe and yet we don’t have the same political response to it as we do with issues such as the Covid crisis or even Brexit.

“I want the Taoiseach to prioritise the stated Programme for Government commitment to the establishment of a citizens assembly on drugs. The Minister told me has written to Micheál Martin twice about this and to date he has not received a reply. The fact that not all Government speaking slots were filled during this important debate does not indicate to me that dealing with this crisis is a priority for the new Government. A Citizens’ Assembly must be convened immediately; we are in a situation where we have the third highest drug overdose rate in Europe with people dying on the streets. This must take a much higher priority. If it was treated with the same priority as Brexit and Covid-19 then I believe we would have a much fairer and more decent society.

“There is also a need for an inner city Mulvey style taskforce to be expanded to North Dublin and to Drogheda to tackle the epidemic of violent crime fuelled by the proceeds of the sale of illegal drugs. I am asking the Government to commit to change how we tackle the drug addiction. We think we can solve the issue through criminal sanction. It can’t work and it hasn’t worked anywhere. The issue of decriminalisation of the person must be at the forefront of their agenda and they can start that process by setting out the terms of reference to convene a Citizens’ Assembly immediately.

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