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Urgent focus on drugs driving needed

2 June, 2004

Sinn Fein's candidate for Dublin in the forthcoming European Elections Mary Lou McDonald has called for a greater focus on 'the dangers of drug abuse on the roads' following reports in today's Irish Independent that huge numbers of drivers are under the influence of illegal drugs. Ms McDonald went on to describe as 'truly appalling' the claim in the report that prosecutions are a rarity.

Ms McDonald said: "Following the most extensive survey of motorists in Europe the relevation that there has been a massive increase in the number of drivers who tested positive for driving under the influence of illegal drugs such as cannabis and increasingly cocaine will come as little surprise to many Dubliners. In many communities across the city local people have a great deal more of unwanted experience with drugs than they would like.

"What is truly appalling about the report is that it seems prosecutions for these offences are a rarity, with no proper structure in place to bring these people to justice despite the grave threat they pose both to themselves and other road users. With seven out of ten drivers testing positive for one or more drugs but negative for alcohol the scale of the problem is staggering. It is particularly noteworthy that one quarter of all male drivers under 25 are testing positive.

"Since being appointed the Minister for Justice has been all talk and little action on a wide range of issues while men and women are dying on Irish roads in increasing numbers. While the focus on drink driving has been welcome, it is clearly long past time for the Government to focus on the dangers of drug abuse on the roads." ENDS

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