Wednesday, 11 May 2022
Ceisteanna - Questions
Many in this House believe we should already have a citizens' assembly on drug use. We need to make sure that happens as early as possible in 2023. Anybody who has engaged with any community in Ireland knows the dangers and harm drug addiction is causing. Looking outside my constituency office on court days, I can see people who have been impacted by drug addiction. This impacts utterly negatively on wider society. People will often say it is like looking at a squad of zombies. It is incredibly frightening. There has been a failure in this regard. We are dealing with huge levels of drug debt intimidation, with families being put under severe pressure and gangs demanding money at high rates of interest.
We need to ensure the citizens' assembly happens. We have spoken about Europe and European affairs this week. At the Conference on the Future of Europe, I was surprised - this possibly points to the lack of representation of peripheral communities across Europe - that the issues of drug addiction and dealing with organised crime and its impact on communities were not brought up by anyone other than me, as far as I could see. That is frightening. If we are to talk about engagement, it has to happen at a real level. We probably need to look at a Europe-wide solution. We need this to happen as soon as possible. There has been a failure by everyone in this House in this regard. The Taoiseach should not get me wrong. I have taken an incredibly strong position on policing actions but we need further action.