Thursday, 2 February 2006
Michael McDowell (Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
It is a sensible idea and I will entertain it and give it as positive a response as possible. It is important that there be an inter-agency response and that all State institutions dealing with this problem have a focused and clear view of the problem when it is present in a relatively confined place before it escapes out of the area where it is now located and becomes endemic.
It is not generally understood that crack cocaine is far more potent and addictive than ordinary cocaine. It is far more damaging to human health and leads to the risk of blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, damage to the heart muscle and damage to lungs. It is also frequently associated with psychotic episodes and very violent and alarming behaviour is associated with its use. I do not doubt that what Deputy Gregory said is essentially correct.
Anyone who thinks it is applicable to them should bear in mind that there is no right to engage in this activity in this country under any circumstances. The status of people who have visas to remain in Ireland as a result of the Irish-born children scheme or on another basis is conditional on their upholding the law. If I find it appropriate in any particular case, based on information available to me, to withdraw the right to remain in Ireland and to deport the people in question, I will do so. I will not be dissuaded by humanitarian concerns which are disproportionate to the damage caused by this trade.