Dáil debates

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Cannabis Regulation: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members]


7:35 pm

Photo of Derek KeatingDerek Keating (Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I am grateful for the opportunity to address this proposal by Deputy Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan for a cannabis regulation Bill. The opening line of the proposed Bill reveals the true reckless and insidious nature of his proposal. It states that the purpose of the Bill is "to provide for the regulation of cannabis for ... recreational use". I have publicly gone on record with my objection to this reckless motion. Last year I stated in this House that if it were adopted, Ireland would become an even bigger gateway for the importation of illegal drugs, as has been seen over the past two years, during which massive amounts of cannabis, heroin, cocaine and other illicit substances, including tobacco, have been made available by the gangster underworld in every street, community, village, parish, town and city.

The light-touch policy being proposed should be rejected. I am calling on those who proposed this Private Members' motion, as well as those who support it, to think again, to look at the evidence and to consider the points most recently made by Professor Jim Lucey of Trinity College Dublin. He gave unquestionable evidence that cannabis harms the brain. It is one of the most toxic substances available. It rests in the body for up to 90 days, damaging the brain and impairing the capacity of the user. It is evident to me that it is a gateway drug.

As the elected Member for a community blighted by drug barons, including those in the IRA and other such organisations who hide behind their political agenda, I am only too familiar with the facts that have been presented to us in the media. I have seen at first hand many hundreds of individuals with zombie-like personalities walking around in some areas of my constituency. I am sure most if not all other Members have had similar experiences. Colloquial expressions heard in the series "Love/Hate" come to mind, such as "goofing off", or "strung out" individuals waiting for their next fix, contemplating their next crime and considering their next opportunistic attack on society to feed their habit. Deputy Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan is proposing to make this drug available to beat the drug barons and address the serious crime that goes with illicit drugs. The Deputy is looking too much at his close friend Nidge of "Love/Hate" fame.


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