'It was in Amsterdam, it was the weekend' - New drugs minister dabbled with legal high on student trip
The newly appointed minister for drugs, Aodhan O'Riordain has admitted he took drugs once while on a trip to Amsterdam where certain substances are legal.
He did not specify what drugs he took, but Mr O'Riordain insisted he did not break the law.
"Once on a trip to Amsterdam as a young student, but I am not a smoker and I have never taken any illegal drugs. I have seen the effects of drugs in my teaching life and in my community activism and as a public representative," he said.
"When you see what drugs do, they have stolen generations and you see the effects it has on children. It passes on huge problems which they have for the rest of their lives," he added.
"My own personal decision and what I have done in my own private life in not ever taking any illegal drugs is fuelled by my experiences," he said.
"I didn't break the law. I was a student, I was in Amsterdam, it was the weekend. I am not a smoker. I do what most students do," he added.
Having been appointed by Tanaiste Joan Burton at lunchtime today, he is now a junior of state in three departments - Justice, Health and Arts.
"I have a long association with this issue. Previously as a primary school teacher in the north inner city where there is acute disadvantage, I came face to face with the issue. I felt strongly about the damage it causes to Irish society," he said.
"This is not an issue that just hurts one part of Ireland, it hurts every part, urban and rural," he said.
"One of the biggest problems we have is middle class drug users who are funding drug gangs," he said. "It is a quite a complex problem and not an easy one to solve," he added.