Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2019: Second Stage [Private Members]
On behalf of the Labour Party I support the Bill and welcome the initiative by Deputy Curran in respect of this matter. I share the sentiment expressed by the Minister of State about the existing offence. He said that the existing offence does not require physical custody of the drug and the prosecution can prove constructive possession, for example, when drugs are purchased online but not delivered into the hands of the accused. In the proposed offence, additional proofs may be required, which are not required to prove possession, and, therefore, this offence might unintentionally be more difficult to prove than the existing offence. I am sure Deputy Curran will clarify that at a further stage in the proceedings. It is a legitimate issue to be raised.
Through popular culture and various television dramas, we are now seeing the articulation or expression of the exploitation of children, be it the passing of the burner phones or children acting as mules or lookouts. It is a reflection of the reality on the ground. We are faced with the vista of children being exploited in this way, with impunity, by these malevolent forces in our society. I share the views expressed by previous speakers about the need to ensure that children are not exploited and that there should be a penalty for the exploitation of a child. On that basis, we support the legislation.