Dáil debates

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

3:00 pm

Photo of John CurranJohn Curran (Dublin Mid West, Fianna Fail)

A total of 17 actions, Nos. 2 to 18, inclusive, of the National Drugs Strategy 2009-20016 are included under the supply reduction pillar. The objectives of this pillar are to significantly reduce the volume of illicit drugs; to prevent the emergence of new markets for illicit drugs; to disrupt the activities of organised criminal networks; to target the income generated through illicit drug trafficking; and to reduce community drug problems.

The actions of the strategy envisage an increased emphasis on community policing, including through the continued roll-out of local policing forums and the inclusion of drugs issues in a more central way in the work of joint policing committees. Also, I recently announced the extension of the "Dial to Stop Drug Dealing" campaign that has proven effective. Lead responsibility for the delivery of much of the supply reduction pillar of the strategy lies with the Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform, An Garda Síochána and Revenue's Custom Service.

As set out in the strategy, I will meet twice a year with a number of Ministers and various senior officials who are directly involved in the work to address the drugs problem. Since the strategy was launched in September I have already met under this process with the Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform and the Secretary General of that Department, the Garda Commissioner and senior officials of Revenue's Custom Service. These meetings greatly facilitate a co-ordinated approach to the drugs problem, allow for a useful exchange of views on issues arising in respect of relevant actions of the national drugs strategy and focus on the importance of the continued effective implementation of other programmes that affect the factors underpinning problem drug use.

An oversight forum on drugs, which I chair, has been established under the strategy and the first meeting was held last month. The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Garda and Revenue's customs service are represented on this forum, the primary role of which is the ongoing high level examination of progress across the strategy and the addressing of operational difficulties and blockages that arise.

A drugs advisory group also has been set up with membership drawn from across the statutory, community and voluntary sectors. This group, which meets approximately once a fortnight, advises me, as Minister, on operational and policy matters relating to the national drugs strategy and oversees and supports the work of the drugs task forces. The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Garda and Revenue's customs service also are represented on this group.

I am determined that real progress will be made to combat the supply of drugs across the period of the strategy, with all sectors working in a co-ordinated and targeted way to achieve the implementation of the agreed actions.


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