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Drug and alcohol support group members deserve clarity – Thomas Gould TD

21 September, 2020 - by Thomas Gould TD

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing, Thomas Gould TD, has today called on the government to give much needed clarity to members and organisers of drug and alcohol support groups in Dublin.

His comments follow an announcement by Junior Minister Frank Feighan that these meetings cannot go ahead under Level 3 restrictions.

Teachta Gould said:

“The treatment of people in recovery, over the last number of weeks, by this government has been disgraceful. It took 3 weeks to receive clarification that these meetings could go ahead under the previous set of guidelines. Now, the government have backtracked on this clarification and are pulling these meetings.

“Minister Stephen Donnelly is quoted as saying these groups serve ‘essentially a healthcare/public health function’. How many other healthcare or public health functions have been closed under the new guidelines?

“It took 3 weeks to receive clarification that these meetings were essential. It was 4 days after NPHET clarification was received before an official announcement and letter was published. A backbench Fianna Fail TD told AA to restart meetings, via Facebook, before the NPHET clarification.

“These are people who have fought hard for their recovery. They deserve respect and compassion. The actions of the government, and the latest announcement by Minister Feighan, undermine the efforts by those in recovery during this difficult and trying time.

“I would call on the Minister to publish the Public Health Advice that led to this decision. I think people deserve to know that this time, the Minister’s decision is backed up by evidence.”

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