Reinstate demand for drugs task force funds

By Maurice Garvey

COUNCILLORS backed a proposal demanding Government reinstatement of funding for drugs and alcohol task forces back to 2008 levels.

The Dublin City Council motion was put forward by Ballyfermot Cllr Daithí Doolan (Sinn Féin), who works in a community drug project in Ringsend.

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He said drug task forces and community-based projects have suffered 30 per cent funding cuts since 2008 and funding has been frozen since 2014.

“Immediate action must be taken before a whole new generation is abandoned to the chaos and violence of the drug crisis,” said Cllr Doolan.

“Minister for the Drug Strategy, Catherine Byrne, must wake up to the crisis on her doorstep and reverse cuts to drug task forces and youth projects.”

Cllr Doolan also criticised Minister Byrne for failing to attend Ballyfermot Drug Taskforce in 10 years, during which he was a public representative at the taskforce.

He referenced the research, published in December by University of Limerick lecturer Dr Johnny Connolly, which looked at how Dublin communities are ravaged by drug-related crime and intimidation.

The Building Community Resilience report, estimates there are around 650 individuals engaged in a criminal network in the Dublin South Central area, comprising career criminals, street dealers and children who provide supports.

Cllr Tara Deacy (Soc Dems), a Co-ordinator at Clondalkin Drugs and Alcohol Task Force welcomed the motion, acknowledging a drugs problem that is “complex and cannot be solved by one department or agency.”

“Cllr Doolan is right, the government aren’t doing enough to address the issues associated with drug use. I also believe Dublin City Council has a huge role to play.”

Cllr Deacy called for the role of local policing committee’s to be addressed, and to look at the role of “more strategic prevention for young people of our city.”

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