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minister for drugs

'Some people have a romantic, bleary-eyed view of cannabis ... They're wrong'

Here’s how Fianna Fáil thinks we can deal with the ‘scourge’ of drugs.

FIANNA FÁIL THINKS the government isn’t doing enough to tackle Ireland’s drug problem so the party has launched its own policy on the issue.

Speaking at an event in Dublin city today, justice spokesperson Niall Collins said a junior drugs minister should be appointed.

He said the issue has become more “complex” due to wider availability of various types of illegal substances in recent years, noting: “When we talk about drugs it’s not just heroin.”

Collins accused the government of being “fixated purely on heroin”, noting that while it remains a serious issue usage levels are “relatively static”.

The Limerick TD said there’s “no part of Ireland which isn’t affected by the scourge of drugs”. Under the plan more gardaí would be deployed to areas “where drug dealing and alcohol related anti-social behaviour is most persistent”.

Senator Darragh O’Brien also spoke at launch, appearing to refer to Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan when he said “a lot of politicians” think cannabis is “okay”.

People who are across the road in Leinster House and other people who are members of the European Parliament who believe it is fine to take this. But look at the new toxic make-ups of cannabis – they are having drastic effects on our young people.

Collins said drugs such as synthetic cannabis are doing “untold damage to [young people's] mental health and physical wellbeing”.

O’Brien added that decriminalisation of the drug was a separate issue to that being discussed in the policy document.

Fianna Fail 377 copy O'Brien and Collins Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Collins said the party consulted a number of stakeholders including Tony Geoghegan, CEO of Merchants Quay homeless and drug addiction service.

He said the issue is like “dealing with a tsunami” and “multi-generational” as Geoghegan is now treating the grandchildren of the people he looked after when he first started working in this field.

O’Brien stated that an initial investment of less than €1 million per centre would be needed to upgrade the country’s 24 local and regional task forces.

Read: ‘I lost the rag to make Joan Burton wake up’

Read: Huge stash of cannabis found in Offaly

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