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Ó Snodaigh welcomes confirmation of 'Dial to Stop Drug Dealing' state-wide roll out

22 April, 2008

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh has welcomed the confirmation from Justice Minister Brian Lenihan that the Dial to Stop Drug Dealing initiative, which was successfully piloted in the Blanchardstown area, is to be rolled out throughout the state in conjunction with local and regional drug task forces.

Welcoming the confirmation Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "In the context of rising drug crime I asked the Minister, in a Dáil question, if he would roll out the Dial to Stop Drug Dealing project without delay. I have been asking for the scheme to be rolled-out since 2006 in light of the successof the Blanchardstown pilot project. In the Minister's response he finally agreed to our demand. He indicated that the National Drugs Strategy Team is now finalising plans to roll out this initiative throughout the state in conjunction with local and regional drugs task forces.

"Since the positive evaluation of the Dial to Stop Drug Dealing pilot project in Blanchardstown was published in November 2006 Sinn Féin has consistently called for a state wide roll out of the project. We have been pushing it in the Oireachtas, on Councils and on JPCs throughout the State. The Minister's confirmation is very welcome, however it is most unfortunate that they dragged their heels for so long on something that will enable communities to help combat drug-related crime.

"The Dial to Stop Drug Dealing campaign in Blanchardstown succeeded in highlighting awareness of the drug situation in the area and in empowering people to report drug related activity without fear of being identified. There is a gulf between the Gardaí and communities in many areas and this anonymous non-Garda phone line helps to bridge that gap.

"In the Blanchardstown district 59% of information reported to the phone line became part of Garda investigations and 17% of these resulted in arrests and court charges. The fact that a further 17% of calls had to be diverted to other Garda districts highlights the need for the project to be rolled out state wide in conjunction with the local and regional drugs task force structures. I welcome the Minister's commitment to this.

"It is imperative that the Minister now secures and makes the necessary funding available." ENDS

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