Government needs to make necessary commitment on drugs crisis – O’Brien
Speaking after Leaders Questions on the matter of a junior minister in charge of the government’s response to the current drugs crisis, Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O’Brien has criticised the government for shying away from the issue and not making the necessary commitments.
Deputy O’Brien said:
“The Cork City JPC heard only this week that there are 500 heroin addicts in Cork with a consequent spike in muggings and robberies. Ten short years ago there were 20 addicts.”
“The present Government is the first in 21 years without a Minister for Drugs. We have seen a consistent rise in the sale and use of drugs. 1 person a day is overdosing in Ireland a day.”
“The Tánaiste says that the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has taken a ‘personal, dedicated interest’ in the matter. I would fear that Minister Varadkar would be too busy trying to alleviate the beds crisis currently facing the country to divide his attention with another matter of national importance.”
“The current Drug Action Plan consists of 63 Action points and involves 19 Government departments. It is an incredibly complex issue and without a junior minister to pull together all these different strands, it is hard to see how headway can be made. The government needs to face up to the challenge and make the commitment now.”