Fianna Fáil’s drugs proposals come from a former Minister who took no action – Burke

-   Senator Colm Burke

Fianna Fáil’s drugs proposals are worthless as they come from a TD who did little to tackle the drugs scourge when he was Drugs Minister, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator Colm Burke said, “The Fianna Fáil call for an increase and deliver funding for Local Drug and Alcohol Taskforces is another example of them promising voters the world but refusing to elaborate on where this funding will come from.”

Fianna Fáil’s drugs spokesperson John Curran today called for gangs who use children as young as eight to sell drugs to face aggravated criminal penalties.

“When John Curran was Drugs Minister from 2008 to 2010, the issue of children being involved in the drugs trade was repeatedly highlighted to him, yet he did not take action at the time.

“Senior bosses in the Limerick Regeneration Agency and An Garda Siochána repeatedly highlighted this from 2007 on but Minister Curran or Fianna Fáil did nothing.

“It’s a bit rich to hear him lecturing today on an issue he and Fianna Fáil constantly ignored,” Senator Burke said.

“Fine Gael is delivering real action, not lip service. €158m worth of illicit drugs were seized between March’15 & July’19. These operations involved 651 arrests, seizure of 101 firearms, 3,300 rounds of ammunition and €9.8 million in cash.

“The Department of Health allocates funding of almost €100 million to the HSE for addiction services. In addition, the Department provides a further €28 million to Drug and Alcohol Task Forces through various channels of funding including the HSE.

“The fact is the most recent figure on Irish Government drug related expenditure is €240.195 million (2017).

“The Government have committed to the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy, ‘Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery – a health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2025.’

“The Strategy represents an integrated public health response to substance misuse and to supporting individuals, families and communities who are struggling with addiction and need intervention and support.

“Maintaining a partnership approach between statutory, community and voluntary bodies is a core value of the National Drugs Strategy and Fine Gael in Government are committed to implementing that,” the Cork Senator said.

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