17 July 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard


Evidence of open drug dealing given to Joint Oireachtas Committees

A proposal for the formation of a new Oireachtas Committee with a sole focus on addressing drugs issues has emerged from a presentation given to national legislators last week on the serious problems being created in towns and villages in Co Monaghan due to the availability and consumption of synthetic cannabinoid substances often dubbed “legal highs”.

Packie Kelly of Monaghan’s Teach na nDaoine Family Resource Centre and Tim Murphy of Cavan Monaghan Drug Awareness presented members of the Joint Committees on Justice, Defence and Equality, and on Health and Children on Thursday with a copy of a report commissioned by Teach na nDaoine into the impact of the problem in Monaghan. The report will be launched locally at a date in the near future.

Mr Kelly and Mr Murphy, whose attendance at the session of the Joint Committees was facilitated by Cavan/Monaghan Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, referred to the deaths of two young Monaghan Townsmen that had been attributed to addiction to “legal high” substances, and articulated fears in local communities that more young people would die as a consequence of their effects.

Mr Kelly said that children as young as 13 were using the substances, and evidence had emerged in the course of the report’s compilation that those selling the drugs were operating openly in local towns and villages, driving into areas in cars which blared loud music to alert users of their presence: “One participant said it is like the ice-cream van. Everyone knows the dealer has arrived.”

Mr Kelly added that some people were spending between €60-€200 per week on obtaining the drugs for their personal use.

Mr Murphy called for drugs legislation to be amended to enable the Gardaí to successfully prosecute for the sale and supply of the substances. He also emphasised the need for young people suffering the effects of addiction – which could include symptoms such as paranoia, suicidal ideation and depression – to have access to acute inpatient treatment facilities before progressing to counselling and support.

Justice Committee Chairperson David Stanton described the situation outlined by the Monaghan presentation as “extraordinarily serious”. He called for the establishment of an Oireachtas Committee with sole responsibility for dealing with the issue.

Minister of State at the Dept of Health Aodhán Ó Riordáin, who addressed a later sitting of the Joint Committees on the national drugs strategy, was strongly urged by Deputy Ó Caoláin to ensure that the planned amendment later this year of the Misuse of Drugs Act contained specific measures to outlaw “legal high” substances.

The SF TD said that they had to get away from the notion that once a synthetic cannabinoid substance had been identified as harmful it could simply be added to the list of banned drugs under existing legislation. In that way one was always playing catch-up, and legislation had to leapfrog ahead of those manufacturing these products.

“We must put the hand up and stop them in their tracks, which requires stron

Comments are closed.