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Three TDs criticise level of funding for National Drugs Strategy in Dáil today

6 December, 2005

Three Sinn Féin TDs today criticised the level of funding being provided for the National Drugs Strategy after it was revealed there was a €15m shortfall in this years Estimates. The TDs also attacked the Minister of State Noel Ahern for his failure to "work in partnership with the local Drugs Task Forces and the National Drugs Strategy Team," which they said had led to the resignation of an "experienced" community sector representative from the National Drugs Strategy Team.

Speaking during Order of Business, the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh said, "The Minister of State Noel Ahern has failed to work in partnership with the Local Drugs Task Forces and the National Drugs Strategy Team and this, coupled with the measly funding provided for in the Estimates which is totally inadequate to meet the needs identified in local communities, has forced the resignation of the experienced and dedicated Fergus McCabe from his position as community sector representative on the National Drugs Strategy Team."

Sinn Féin leader in the Dáil, Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin accused the Government of failing to "commit the resources necessary to implement the National Drugs Strategy." "A failure," he said, "that is evidenced by the Estimates which involved a shortfall of €15m and which must be rectified by additional funding through the Budget."

Deputy Seán Crowe said there was an urgent need for an additional €4.8m euro to be included in the Budget for the Emerging Needs Fund. This needs to be done if the demands for 2006 as identified by the Local Drugs Task Forces are to be met and existing projects built upon he said.

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