INDEPENDENT WEXFORD TD Mick Wallace has argued for the legalisation of prostitution – saying that he believes the welfare of women working in the sex trade would be significantly improved if the trade was not forced underground.
In an interview with this fortnight’s Hot Press, Wallace – a building developer by trade, who also devotes much of his time to his Wexford Youths soccer club – argued that there would always be a demand for the services of prostitutes, and that the demand could be better regulated if it was carried out on a legalised basis.
“There’s been prostitution on the planet since time began – and it’ll always be here,” Wallace explained to John Murray on RTÉ Radio 1 this morning.
“If you think, it’s a better scenario [than] where the girls work in very poor conditions, get very badly treated, and live in fear of the pimps that control them all the time.
“Plus, clients decide to use prostitutes that aren’t always in as healthy a state as they should be, because there’s no health controls on it… It doesn’t actually make sense to have it illegal,” Wallace continued.
It’s going to exist anyway, [we should] get used to it… I think the girls would be exploited less through a legal system than through an illegal system.
Wallace extended a similar logic to the legalisation of cannabis, having declared his support for fellow independent Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan who was yesterday forced to quit smoking the drug while in Ireland, for fear he could be arrested and unable to support his children.
Cannabis now being imported into Ireland was sometimes being sprayed with plastic in order to increase its weight, Wallace claimed, by way of offering an example of how unregulated drug imports were posing a major health risk.
If the drug was legalised, the Revenue Commissioners would be able to levy its sale and could put those funds towards drug prevention programmes, he said.
“I’m not saying for a second that abuse of cannabis isn’t going to cause problems – [but] abuse of anything is going to cause problems.”
Asked if he was a cannabis user himself, however, Wallace said that while he had tried the drug in the past, he did not smoke it now.
“I like a pint of Guinness and some nice red wine, that does me fine,” the 57-year-old said.