Sinn Féin spokesperson on environment, community & local government, Brian Stanley TD, has accused the government of : “abandoning whole communities to the drugs crisis”.
Speaking this evening during a Dáil debate, Deputy Stanley said:
“Whole communities were abandoned in the 1980s, in the early 1990s and now again the same communities are abandoned by this government.
“Unfortunately for these communities the drugs crisis has slipped off the government’s agenda. It has become an afterthought in the programme for government with services and resources cut to the bone.
“The evidence is there. The cut in public spending between 2008-2012 is 2.82%, but the budget for drug initiatives was slashed by 29%, with some services having cuts of up 67%.
“This has put enormous pressure on addiction services. More people are presenting with polydrug use yet the services have fewer resources and less funding. There has been a massive increase in gangland crimes.
“So far this year two more people have been shot dead than in the whole of 2011. We need a measured, mature response not the hysterical headlines seen in some of the tabloids.
“It is vital that newly appointed minister, Alex White TD reprioritise the drugs crisis. There is of course no one easy answer to the drugs crisis, but experience shows that the response must be holistic, integrated and partnership based.
“It must involve the people most affected by the problem in finding solutions that work for their communities. These solutions must be adequately resourced. This approach, once championed by Labour, has been eroded by consecutive governments, including this one.”