Monday 26 September 2016

Injection centres for addicts won't tackle drug crime

Published 04/11/2015 | 02:30

Junior minister Aodhán O’Ríordáin plans to introduce injection centres for drug addicts
Junior minister Aodhán O’Ríordáin plans to introduce injection centres for drug addicts

Reports have emerged that Aodhán O'Ríordáin, Minister of State for Culture, New Communities and Equality, announced to an academic conference in London that he intends to introduce legislation to establish taxpayer-funded, medically supervised injection centres in Dublin and elsewhere for the comfort of drug addicts.

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He also told his English audience that he wants Irish people to remove the stigma attached to the taking of heroin, cocaine and cannabis.

The junior minister has not cited a scintilla of evidence, operating precedent, research or cost-benefit analysis to persuade the public that his proposition has any merit or credibility. His suggestion about eliminating the stigma attached to drug addiction would imply that this can be achieved through political posturing, coupled with myopic indifference by the public towards the severe threat of criminality confronting them.

There were over 15,000 prosecutions for drug possession in the State for personal use for the 12 months ending on 31 March, 2015.

Last year, the Revenue Commissioners reported 6,158 illicit drug seizures with a street value of over €91m. The availability of cosy, State-sponsored, injection centres will undoubtedly boost this trend at considerable cost to taxpayers for policing and surveillance.

If there is a stigma related to drug use, there is also an abundance of evidence available every day in our courts and in the emergency departments of the nation's hospitals, where staff are subject to assault, abuse and intimidation by drug addicts, that public fear is not misplaced. Does the junior minister not accept that there is a very high correlation between drug addiction and crime caused by the effect of drugs on thought and behaviour?

Recurring turf wars among criminal gangs connected to this illicit enterprise will not vanish because addicts use medically supervised injection centres. Businesses in the vicinity of such centres would likely suffer adverse consequences and diminished customer footfall.

Perhaps Mr O'Ríordáin ought to have had a thoughtful preliminary conversation with the Irish public in the first instance about his proposition before presenting it to an English audience as a fait accompli.

Myles Duffy

Glenageary, Co Dublin

 

Technology will have the final say

So, Taoiseach Enda Kenny stayed away from the Web Summit. I suppose it is an expected response considering how much Mr Kenny and his army of advisers misunderstand modern technology.

But technology will have the final say and Mr Kenny's denial of the economic changes that modern technology has wrought may cause him to be named as possibly the worst Taoiseach this country has ever had. Which is quite something, considering some of his predecessors.

Mr Kenny assumed power at one of the most critical transitional periods in world history; economics were moving from failure, inability, shortage and incessant hard work to a new era of success, ability, abundance and automation. Mr Kenny never saw it, however, and his advisers never told him about it.

He continued outdated economic policies, which have done nothing to remedy our ham-fisted approach to an entirely new economic situation and leaves us totally unprepared for an inevitable economic future of restrained production, diminishing growth and elimination of work.

What is trumpeted as "recovery" is in fact "remission"; short-term easing of the worst effects of a crash of old economics. Instead of curing the situation politicians only prolong the agony and can do this only by creation of far greater debt than irresponsible banking ever accumulated. It is interesting to note US President Barack Obama is seeking legislation to increase the US debt ceiling to $20trillion; about $60,000 for every person of a population of some 320 million. Otherwise, the whole US dream will collapse.

It can't and it won't last, and when the next crashes comes I fear it will make the calamity of 2008 feel like misplacing loose change.

Padraic Neary

Tubbercurry, Co Sligo

 

Joined-up thinking on road safety

Liz O'Donnell has tackled a very serious issue regarding road safety (Irish Independent, October 31). It seems we are unable to convey the repercussions of terrible road traffic accidents and the social, psychological and economic impacts on individuals and society as a whole, to lay people and policy makers alike.

And as Ms O'Donnell put it, each individual death is itself a calamity to a family and a community, placing enormous burdens on our families, communities, healthcare and social services, hospitals and productivity.

Every person has a story, conjuring up past memories and future dreams. Every human being has the potential for greatness, and can help his fellow humans to surmount obstacles and help others to prosper.

We need a joined-up and synergistic approach to road safety.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob

London, United Kingdom

 

No pardon for Labour

Eamon Gilmore TD comments in his new autobiography: "I have just been court-martialled and I am to be shot at dawn!" a poignant reference to the executed of World War I.

In 2006, the 'Shot at Dawn' were pardoned by the British House of Commons, thereby lifting the stigma associated with the executions.

However, unlike the Shot at Dawn, Mr Gilmore and the Irish Labour Party will never be pardoned by the Irish electorate for the imposition of austerity on the weakest sections of our community.

Peter Mulvany

Clontarf, Dublin 3

 

Rhetoric on social housing?

It appears that the proposed sites for modular social housing will preserve areas of advantage and disadvantage.

Were a lot of the expressions of compassion just rhetoric?

Or maybe more affluent residents are too modest to propose sites in the vicinity of their own homes?

Joseph Mackey

Athlone, Co Westmeath

 

Due to a production error, a letter by David Freeley, from Wexford, wrongly appeared under the name of Mr Mackey, above, on Monday.

Irish Independent

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