Government attitude to drugs crisis in Limerick negligent - Quinlivan
Sinn Féin's Maurice Quinlivan has described the ongoing failure of the government to support the immediate establishment of a local drugs task force in Limerick as “deeply negligent”.
Quinlivan also called on Minister Carey to work with local agencies and with
Sinn Féin to address the worsening drugs crisis in the city as a matter of
urgency. Quinlivan expressed disappointment at the lack of urgency in a
response to a parliamentary question to the Minister on the matter.
Quinlivan said: “For at least two years now, Limerick Sinn Féin has been urging government to do something concrete about the escalating drugs problem in Limerick, but it has responded by sticking its collective head in the sand.
“As a consequence the misuse of heroin has gained a hold in parts of the city with devastating consequences. Figures maintained by the HSE’s Drug & Alcohol Service (Slainte) in Limerick show that 37% of the people who were assessed by them in January to August of 2007 were abusing heroin.
“The Minister in his reply said that ‘The degree to which the misuse of drugs, including heroin, is worsening in LimerickCity is difficult to gauge’.
“Government and the Minister are clearly out of touch with the everyday realities for Limerick communities’ worst hit drug addiction. They are a plethora of community groups, centres, journalists and activists like myself who would be more than happy to outline the degree to which drugs are and the serious crime associated with them are holding communities’ under siege.
“It really is negligent of government to have allowed this crisis deteriorate particularly given the recommendation in John Fitzgerald’s report in April of this year that a local focus should be established immediately in Limerick. The report provided a very clear road map for the way forward in tackling the crisis.
“As the minister responsible, Pat Carey has a lot to answer for. I warned months ago that the situation was spiralling out of control with heroin especially getting a grip in the City and urged his predecessor to set up a local drugs task force.
“Minister Carey has refused to do so despite the success of local of the local drug taskforce project in other parts of the country.
“2008 must see a shift in government attitude on tackling the drug’s crisis in Limerick city. Community safety remains a political priority for Sinn Féin. We will continue to hold government to account until such time they allocate the full resources necessary to end the scourge of serious drug and gun crime.” CRÍOCH