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Sinn Féin TD calls for hearings and Dail debate on EU Drugs Strategy

14 February, 2005

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, in a submission to the Committee on European Affairs today has called for joint committee hearings and a full Dail debate on the new EU Drugs Strategy. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said it was "imperative" that Ireland engage with the drugs issue "not only on an all-island basis, but also at EU level".

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Just as we need to be developing a more effective and integrated island-wide response to the drugs crisis, the issue of EU-wide coordination and sharing of best practice is also of critical importance.

"My party welcomed the new EU Drugs Strategy when it was published. People now need to be informed of its existence. It deserves broad public examination and debate among interested stakeholders including legislators. We need to determine specifically what this strategy can do to help us in this work here at home. We need to know whether the Government is committed to it, and what those commitments will mean in practice.

"I therefore propose that the Oireachtas EU Affairs Committee conduct hearings jointly with the Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights, Committee on Health and Children and the Committee on Social and Family Affairs, in order to take submissions from the Drugs Task Forces and other groups active on this issue. This would also allow the Minister of State with responsibility for the National Drug Strategy to address the intersection of the national and EU strategies. I am also recommending a special Dáil debate on the EU Drugs Strategy following the Committee hearings." ENDS

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