07 July 2010

Drugs Awareness Campaign is welcome but just one piece of the puzzle – Fitzgerald

Local Fine Gael Senator Frances Fitzgerald has welcomed the launch of the National Drugs Awareness Campaign but said it must be part of a raft of measures to tackle the scourge of drugs.

“This awareness campaign to warn young people of the dangers of drugs, whether legal or illegal, is a positive step although it is arguably coming late in the day when head shops have been a problem for two years. However, education is a vital piece of the puzzle in tackling the consumption of drugs and I wish this campaign well and hope it makes an impact on the young people who need to know how dangerous drugs can be," said Frances Fitzgerald.

“The campaign is only one part of a raft of measures needed to fight the scourge of drugs. We need to provide sufficient funding for local organisations like the Clondalkin Drugs Task Force, which does such great work here on the ground. We also need to resource local organisations which provide support for families affected by drugs. The Head Shop legislation is currently going through the Oireachats. Fine Gael wanted to strengthen this legislation so that Gardaí would be able to close head shops without undue delay. Regrettably, the Government rejected our constructive amendments which is a pity as the Bill will now go into law with loopholes which could have been addressed," continued Frances Fitzgerald

“In all cases the work of the Gardaí is vital. They must be resourced to tackle the gangs for whom drugs are a lucrative business and they must also be resourced to stop the flood of illegal drugs into Ireland. Our Customs service is under-resourced and criminal gangs can import drugs easily through small airports and the under-patrolled coastline. This is an element that the Government is shamefully neglecting. If we are serious about getting drugs off our streets we have to stop them getting into the country in the first place," concluded Frances Fitzgerald.