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CSO findings show need for new deal on drugs – Ó Snodaigh

26 April, 2007


Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has reiterated his call for the Government to reinstate a full-time minister with the sole responsibility for the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy. Speaking in the Dáil today Deputy Ó Snodaigh accused Justice Minister Michael McDowell of using the findings of the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in a "highly misleading manner" and called on him to "stop spinning statistics and concentrate on re-structuring and re-targeting Garda resources onto the drugs crisis and associated serious crime".

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "The findings of the Central Statistics Office (CSO), that arrests for drug dealing are up 40%, indicate a major increase in drug-related crime and the urgent need for the government to reinstate a full-time government minister with sole responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy. Adequate budgets must be made available to both Local Drugs Task Forces (LDTF) and Regional Drugs Task Forces (RDTF) for the development of drug services to respond to the crises in both heroin and cocaine use.

"The CSO figures also highlight the need for the immediate implementation of the action plan on setting up local Community Policing Fora and for the provision of support for families to be involved as partners at LDTF and RDTF. The Minister should stop spinning statistics and concentrate on re-structuring and re-targeting Garda resources onto the drugs crisis and associated serious crime as is his responsibility.

"The CSO stats are being used by the Minister in a highly misleading manner. For example the percentage drop in relation to violent killings may look large but the figures it relates to do not allow for statistical significance. And what would be a very welcome drop in crimes of sexual violence more likely represents a frightening drop in the numbers reporting such crimes. As has been pointed out by the Violence Against Women Sector who are all too aware of the impact last years C case has had on the confidence of victims in the legal system.

"Figures such as these only ever tell part of the story because as community confidence in the Gardaí continues to drop, a trend also evidenced by the CSO stats, more and more crimes will go un-reported." ENDS

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