Informative UUP-Sinn Féin conference on drugs
Sinn Fein MLA Jennifer McCann has described as 'informative' today's jointly sponsored Ulster Unionist Party-Sinn Fein conference on the availability of drugs in working class communities across Belfast.
The event was hosted and organised by Jennifer McCann and Fred Cobain MLA and held at parliament buildings.
Benny Lynch from the Falls Community Council and a representative from the Shankill's Forum Against Alcohol and Substance Abuse (FASA) also attended.
Ms McCann said:
"The information we were given today about the extent of drug abuse by young people in working class communities on the Shankill and Falls Roads was alarming.
"Those individuals and organisations working with young people and adults addicted to a range of drugs, including prescription drugs, are under funded and under resourced yet they are dealing with areas awash with drugs.
"Drug dealers are openly living in our communities and using children as young as 12-13 years old to sell their drugs to older teenagers. They are known to the community and to the PSNI yet go about their drug deals unhindered.
"One representative said cocaine was as easy to get as going to the corner shop for a pint of milk
"Fred Cobain and I have agreed to ensure that the tackling of drugs in our communities becomes an immediate priority for the Executive.
"Politicians have to ensure that the community knows that they not only are worried about this issue but will use their influence to eradicate drugs from our areas.
"We intend to support an organized community led opposition to the drug dealers and a campaign of pressure to get core funding for those organizations working in this area.
"We will meet again early in the new year to plan this campaign". Críoch