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Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: I would like to indicate that I might return to this section on Report Stage.

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: Again, I might have to return to this section on Report Stage.

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: I may have to return to this section on Report Stage as well.

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: Is Deputy Chambers going to put those changes forward as amendments?

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: I do. I wanted to get some clarification first. The word "may" is used under the advice of the Attorney General. If "shall" is put into the Bill, it limits me when it comes to discussing the matter further with other people. The use of "may" enables consultation with other people. The use of "shall" is a more definite decision and I would have to do it.

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: It comes down to the legal implications of the Bill. It may have other difficulties for us. That is where our concerns arise. The expression "shall not grant a licence" is used in other sections. The section in question is a little more open, or soft, rather than open, in the sense of the Minister making the decision.

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: I will take some advice on this. All the people the Minister would have to consult are not listed.

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: That is Deputy Durkan with his legal hat on.

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: I will put it as plainly as possible. Would it be possible to speak to Deputy Chambers afterwards about the wording? My advice is that the Attorney General believes the use of "may" is appropriate at this stage. I will have to talk to Deputy Chambers about it and get some more advice on it.

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: I was listening to the Deputy.

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: No, I was just getting something from them.

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: Yes. Deputy Barrett began by speaking about methadone clinics and the fact that in the past there were huge objections to them in communities and that we as public representatives were asked to stand over them. The fact is that many methadone clinics have made a huge impact on people's lives. I remind the Deputy that the legislation is committed to in the programme for Government and that...

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: I was asked to reply. They are human beings who at a certain time in their lives need these services. They largely do not connect with any other rehabilitation services or any other services. They are chronic users, many of whom are at the very edge of addiction, some of whom are at the end of their lives. As we all know if we read the many articles on the matter that have appeared in...

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: There are 90 of these facilities-----

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: There are 90 of these units across the world. Everywhere they have been provided, yes, there was opposition when they began to operate but that has all subsided because people see definite change not only in the communities in which they live - for example, a reduction in material being left behind in public places by drug users - but also in the facilities themselves being provided to...

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: The Minister can make a decision to close down this premises overnight if he or she wants to. The Minister can make a decision to have a review of the facility at any time. That is what the legislation is there for.

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: The only legislation being amended is the Misuse of Drugs Act. As it is a pilot project, it will automatically come under review. As I said, the Minister can intervene at any time if he or she feels a facility is not being run properly or is not adhering to the legislation.

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: Yes.

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: Section 5 states:Where the Minister is satisfied, having consulted with the Executive, An Garda Síochána, or such other persons as the Minister considers appropriate, that the licence holder has become ineligible to hold a licence, or is in breach of regulations made under this Act or the conditions of the licence concerned, the Minister may—(a) revoke the licence, or (b)...

Select Committee on Health: Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (22 Mar 2017)

Catherine Byrne: Yes.

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