€16m in seized drug money should be ring-fenced for treatment services

By Maurice Garvey

A PERCENTAGE of €16m in drug money seized by gardai this year, could be ringfenced back into drug treatment services, according to Clondalkin Cllr Kenneth Egan (FG), reports Maurice Garvey.

Speaking on RTE show Claire Byrne Live on Monday, Cllr Egan proposed some of the seized drug money, which goes back into the Exchequer, could be used for drug treatment centres, mental health facilities, grassroots work and education.

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Kenneth Egan

Egan said there was a shortfall in funding for drug task forces, who have seen their budgets cut significantly since the last recession.

“I work as a therapist as well, I have a client in particular, and he has to ring a treatment centre every Friday, now he is not in treatment yet.

 

He really wants to get well. He has been told to ring this treatment centre every Friday to see if there is a bed available. A week is a long time for someone in addiction.”

Speaking on the show, Pat Leahy, retired Assistant Garda Commissioner said the increase in seized drug money this year, can be in part, attributed to a “lot of avenues closed for laundering”.

“A lot of money was lying around at home but is still not small change. You also have CAB seizing 17.6m for the State and a lot of that can be related back to drug trafficking.

“I suppose we can’t get away from the fact that the State funds drug treatment, local drug task forces and the National Drugs Strategy but it is still a noble concept that it would come additionally from drug trafficking, and that is a political decision that could be made for sure.”

Cllr Egan also acknowledged the lack of social interaction during Covid-19 has had another negative effect for addicts, some of whom, the former Olympian says, are unable or unwilling to participate in Zoom support meetings.

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