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Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Here's the new minister for drugs

The government has agreed the appointment of a minister to deal with the National Drugs Strategy.

LABOUR JUNIOR MINISTER Aodhán Ó Ríordáin is to take on responsibility for drugs strategies.

The government has appointed the Labour deputy as Minister of the State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for drugs strategies.

The Dublin North Central deputy will be responsible for implementing the National Drugs Strategy, which aims to tackle the misuse of harmful and illegal substances.

Ó Ríordáin told tonight that he was “honoured”, adding: “But it’s a huge responsibility and one very close to my heart.”

The appointment will complement his existing role as junior minister for new communities, culture and equality, which is spread across two government departments, Health and Justice.

It also follows calls in recent months for the government to reinstate the position, which existed under previous administrations. These calls were led by Labour backbencher and former minister Pat Rabbitte.

Addressing the Labour parliamentary party meeting tonight, it’s believed Ó Ríordáin indicated he wanted to visit each area where a drugs task force has been established.

The appointment was ratified by an incorporeal cabinet meeting this afternoon and is expected to be formally announced tomorrow during the Dáil’s Order of Business.

Read: ‘Some people have a romantic, bleary-eyed view of cannabis … They’re wrong’

Pat Rabbitte: ‘Maybe Leo thinks he could run the entire cabinet without anybody’*

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