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Drug abuse information must be provided in range of languages to cater for Ireland's multi-cultural society

22 August, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social and Family Affairs Seán Crowe TD has welcomed a commitment he received from the HSE today that they are to ensure that information on drug abuse is made available in a range of languages. Deputy Crowe had previously asked the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney to provide this information in languages that cater for all in Ireland's multi-cultural society.

Speaking today after receiving a response from the HSE Deputy Crowe said, "The HSE have confirmed to me that they are about to embark on a consultation process in respect of the National Intercultural Strategy which is expected to make recommendations around addressing this issue in a comprehensive manner. They say that they will work with both the local and regional drugs taskforces in identifying both the key issues and stakeholders in respect of the development of appropriate and relevant drugs information which includes making information available to Ireland's multi-cultural society.

"While I welcome the HSE's commitment to dealing with this issue, it seems to me that they are intent on doing things the long way. The key issue that they seek has already been identified and the recommendations that they seek are obvious - that this information should be provided in a range of languages to cater for Ireland's multi-cultural society. There is no point in having a lengthy consultation process when the issue has already been identified and the answer to the problem is blindingly obvious?

"Other industries are streets ahead of the HSE in adapting services to cater for foreign nationals. For example the Construction Industry now provides health and safety signs in a range of languages.

"This approach by the HSE is indicative of the approach taken by the Government to Ireland's drugs crisis. We all know that there is a serious cocaine problem throughout the country yet the response to the problem is only rolled out on a pilot basis while the problem escalates.

"This information is urgently required to deal with serious problems such as the spread of diseases through sharing infected needles. It should not be held up by unnecessary delays and red tape from the HSE." ENDS

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