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Minister confirms end of Dial to Stop Drug Dealing campaign just five months after launching it – Ó Snodaigh

27 February, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has sharply criticised the government after the Minister for Drugs announced that the Dial to Stop Drug Dealing non Garda confidential free phone line will cease to operate when funding runs out, which could be imminent. This is despite the success of the initiative in generating useful information and leads for Garda investigations, a fact acknowledged by the Minister himself.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said today, "The Minister has confirmed to me in an answer to a Dáil question that the Dial to Stop Drug Dealing phone line will cease to operate when funding runs, which could be imminent.

"This is an absolutely ludicrous position to be in just five months after the campaign was officially launched. The project has been extremely successful and it is not at all expensive relative to the cost of drug related crime. Certainly it has more than provided value for money unlike some of the other schemes that this Government has embarked on. The Minister himself has previously noted the success of the scheme.

"This week I sought a guarantee on the future of the phone line from the Minister. In response he revealed that there is a fixed price per call made to the line and when the small amount of dormant accounts funds remaining are expended the service will cease to exist. We are in the paradoxical situation whereby the more successful this initiative is the quicker it will be pulled by government.

"I am calling on the Minister to secure ongoing funding for this campaign to ensure that its operation is secured into the foreseeable future. It must not become another victim of the recession. It is not a huge investment that is required. Sinn Féin feels that investment in combating drugs will have a positive economic return in the long term as associated crime rates drop and the number of addicts seeking treatment falls." ENDS

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