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13 December 2007 Edition

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Ahern urged to reconsider Sinn Féin action plan to tackle drugs crisis

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Drugs deaths — time for action

AFTER a spate of drug-related deaths in the 26 Counties in the past week and the broadcast on Monday night of an RTÉ documentary exposing the huge extent of cocaine abuse in Ireland, public representatives and community workers have called for urgent action by the Government.
Last week, speaking in the Dáil in response to the drug-related death of Kevin Doyle in Waterford, Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD called on the Government to reconsider a Sinn Féin motion from last year which called for the resourcing and implementation of an action plan to tackle the spiralling cocaine crisis.
“In light of the death of a young man in Waterford after having taken some damp cocaine, I am calling on the Government to reconsider the Sinn Féin Private Members’ motion of May 2006 which called for the resourcing and implementation of a national action plan to tackle spiralling cocaine abuse. The previous Fianna Fail/PD Government voted down our proposals at the time but it is vital that the current government does not make the same mistake,” Ó Snodaigh said.
“Cocaine is continuing not only to take the lives of its consumers but it is also contributing heavily to the creation of an increasingly violent society as ruthless dealers continue to shoot each other as they compete in this lucrative and deadly market.
“This government must recognise the severity and extent of the cocaine crisis in Ireland and act appropriately. I am therefore calling on them to seriously reconsider our proposals from May 2006 and implement a strategy to tackle cocaine. How many more deaths must take place before we see action from the Government?”
A second young Waterford man, John Grey, who attended the same party as Kevin Doyle and was also admitted to hospital with similar symptoms, died over the weekend. High-profile model Katy French died on Thursday, 6 December. All of these deaths were believed to be cocaine-related.
On Tuesday of this week, following reports that the death of a young man in Bray, County Wicklow, may also be drug related, Aengus Ó Snodaigh said the spate recent drug deaths in the 26 Counties demand that Government reallocates money from the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund into the Drugs Initiatives and Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund.
The Dublin South Central TD said:
“The death of a young man in Bray, a death in which media reports indicate drugs may have played a role, brings the number of such very premature deaths to four in recent days. Two young men are in intensive care in the midlands also. There can be no more excuses and illusions – cocaine is a deadly drug and the scale of family heartache caused is enormous.
“I am calling on the Government to introduce a Supplementary Estimate to ensure that spending on anti-drugs initiatives matches the priority and urgency involved. If the Government were to reallocate taxpayers’ money out of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund then resources for the Drugs Initiatives and Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund under Budget 2008 could be more than doubled.
“It’s time for Irish society to get its priorities in order.” 

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