Issue 2 - April 2010

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Cuts in funding drugs strategy

Anegus O Snodaigh (SF, Dublin SC) again raised the issue of the funding of the strategy against drugs (Dail Eireann, Debates, 25th March 2010, 593-5). He accused the government of abandoning the national drugs strategy, for it did not appear in the title of any minister following the reshuffle.  Drugs was clearly not a priority brief any more.  These changes had been made following the dismantling of the national drugs strategy team on the premise that a super ministry with responsibility for drugs would be established.  He reported in his constituency a 33% cut in funding.  In 2001, a child in the inner city had a one in four chance of becoming addicted to drugs.  A child’s survival odds were now ten times or more higher as a result of local projects – but implementing those cuts would set back those projects and young people in those areas suffering from the recession and which had never benefitted from the celtic tiger anyway.

Responding for the Tanaiste and Minister for Education and Skills, new minister of state Sean Connick told him that the department was funding thirty projects in local drugs task force areas.  In Dublin, most were administered by three Vocational Education Committees (Dublin City, County and Dun Laoghaire) with three funded directly by the department.  In budget 2010, it was decided to reduce funding from €2.643m in 2009 to €2.461m in 2010 and to cease funding in 2010.  The department was currently reviewing the implications.  A key aspect of the review was to determine if the department was the appropriate location for these projects or whether funding should more appropriately be channelled through another agency.  The department would submit recommendations to the Tanaiste, who, for her part, wished to assure the house that, within the resources at her disposal, she was fully committed to the national drugs strategy.

Later, the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Pat Carey told the Dail that responsibility for the drugs strategy would rest with him as minister.  Many at community level had been campaigning for some time that the minister assigned responsibility for drugs should be a member of government with a seat at the cabinet (Dail Eireann, Debates, 1st April 2010, 302; see also 269-271).

  • Members of steering group on National Substance Misuse Strategy: Dail Eireann, Debates, 1st April 2010, 299
  • List of residential institutions funded, 2008-2010: Dail Eireann, Debates, 1st April 2010, 287-8