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Urgent Government response to cocaine crisis required – Ó Snodaigh

9 March, 2007

Responding to the publication of the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) and National Drugs Strategy Team (NDST) report on cocaine use Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said, "The Government's failure to respond to and their denial of the scale of the cocaine problem is condemning communities to the criminal and public health impacts of the drugs crisis.

Speaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "While updated research is always welcome, yesterday's report was ultimately unnecessary. Sinn Féin and community activists have long been aware of the growth and frightening scale of Ireland's cocaine problem. We have spent the last number of years alerting the government to this but it has fallen on deaf ears. By refusing to respond the government have wasted the last few years. And as citywide argued on Primetime last night in a drugs crisis we simply cannot afford to have years wasted.

"In May of last year Sinn Féin tabled a private members motion that fully recognised the increasing availability and use of cocaine, the emergence of a trade in crack cocaine, the high level of crime fuelled by the drugs trade and the damage cause to public health and community life. Our motion called on the government to immediately formulate, resource and implement an Action Plan to combat spiralling cocaine use. The government parties voted down that motion and in so doing they reiterated their ongoing denial of the scale of the cocaine problem and condemned communities to its impacts.

"Sinn Féin are hosting a Conference entitled 'The Drugs Crisis - Supporting the Community Response' this Monday 12th of March in the Clarion Hotel from 10am to 3pm. All are welcome to attend and participate. The Conference will be addressed by representatives from BRYR Ballymun Youth, Hope Project North Inner City, UISCE, Jobstown Assisting Drug Dependency, the Irish Penal Reform Trust, a GP Addictions specialist and Sinn Féin's Cllrs. Larry O'Toole and Christy Burke and Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD." ENDS

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