Thursday, 18 February 2021
Covid-19 (Drug and Alcohol Services, and Homelessness): Statements
Frank Feighan (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael)
First, I agree with the Deputy regarding the ring-fencing of funding. My colleague, Deputy Richmond, and others have been to the forefront in that regard, so perhaps it is time for a debate on the subject of putting the money put back into the local drugs task forces or into addressing the issues. On the funding, in November 2020 I approved one-off funding of €20,000 for each task force, including the Deputy's local task force, to assist in the continuation and restoration of drug and alcohol services during the pandemic. I have also allocated an additional €1 million for a new funding scheme for task forces in 2021, to increase the core funding. I have met all the task forces and I have asked them to let us know what they require. My departmental officials and I will do everything we can to help them with their funding or whatever resources are necessary. It is an issue, and I thank the local drug and alcohol task forces for the work they are doing to address this awful problem.