Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs a historic opportunity to change people’s lives

02 October 2023

Labour spokesperson on Justice, Aodhán Ó Riordáin TD, has thanked the participants of the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs for their contributions following the conclusion of discussions yesterday (1st October). 

Deputy Ó Riordáin said:

“The Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs is a historic opportunity to change people’s lives.The Assembly will reconvene later in October to agree its recommendations and I look forward to the report by the end of the year.

“The Citizens’ Assembly has been a remarkable exercise in democracy. It has brought together people from all walks of life to discuss complex and challenging issues in a respectful and open way. We have seen the benefits of bringing all voices into the room on issues like marriage equality, abortion rights and more recently on biodiversity.

“In Labour, we believe that drugs and drug addiction should be treated as a health issue, not a criminal justice one. We believe that people who use drugs should be treated with respect and dignity, and that they should have access to the support and services they need.

“Those who need these services deserve humane and compassionate treatment. Those who are crippled by addiction deserve the care and compassion of the State, and not to be forced through the criminal justice system. We need to approach drug policy with pragmatism, not moralism. We need to move beyond the moralisation of drugs and to get sensible about drug policy. We need to protect vulnerable users. We now need urgent action from the government to help save peoples lives.”

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