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Next National Drugs Strategy must be grounded in recommendations of local communities – Ó Snodaigh

19 February, 2008

Speaking as the Ballyfermot Local Drugs Task Force made a presentation to the National Drugs Strategy Team today Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said the next National Drugs Strategy must be firmly grounded on the input and recommendations coming from communities such as Ballyfermot.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Ballyfermot Local Drugs Task Force has done extensive research involving consultation of a broad range of stakeholders affected by drug use. The recommendations arising from this consultation include:

· introduce focused training for teachers and staff to ensure that that young people's aspirations are motivated and nurtured,

· ensure treatment is available on demand and child care spaces for service users,

· reverse the poor relationship between communities and the Gardaí,

· develop rehabilitation programmes and include travellers and other ethnic groups in the strategy

"It is imperative that the National Drugs Strategy Team and, in turn the Minister, take on board these recommendations and incorporate them into the overall strategic plan for the future. It is equally imperative that the government make the resources available to ensure that recommendations coming directly from the communities affected are fully implemented.

"We are approaching a key juncture - the National Drugs Strategy concludes this year. The sequel strategy 2009-2016 must be firmly grounded on the input and recommendations coming from communities such as my own in Ballyfermot. And it must not be dogged by the under-resourcing that has characterised and hampered the implementation of the current strategy.

"Even now in February it is clear that a supplementary estimate is required if we are to really prioritise tackling drugs. It is a sad reflection on the Government that in Budget '08 more money was put into the Horse and Greyhound Racing fund than was put into the National Drugs Strategy." ENDS

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