Thursday 22 August 2019

'I've never smoked dope... I've never even had a cigarette' - Joe Duffy

Joe Duffy Photo: Gerry Mooney.
Joe Duffy Photo: Gerry Mooney.

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Joe Duffy has categorically stated that he has never smoked cannabis at any time during his life.

The broadcaster was speaking as he hosted a debate on the decriminalisation of the drug, in response to a question posed by a caller named Tim who supports the legalisation of cannabis.

"Can I ask you a personal question Joe - Did you ever smoke dope?" Tim asked.

"No. I've answered this before and I'll answer it to my dying day," Duffy said while presenting Liveline on RTE Radio One.

"I've never even smoked a cigarette, I don't smoke."

The legendary RTE broadcaster explained that the reason he doesn't like being asked such a question is because be believes his answer "shouldn't be a benchmark for anybody".

He said it is irrelevant whether or not he has taken the drug.

Duffy recalled having a similar discussion with his teenage boys in recent times.

"I had this argument with my own young fellas - who don't smoke - that I've never met a happy drug addict.

"They reply 'what about drink?' But I still say I've never met a happy drug addict," Duffy said.

The Liveline host said that while growing up in Dublin, and during the many years he worked for the probation services, he never met a happy addict.

During their conversation Tim said it's time people who use the drug regularly stand up and speak out about its positive effects.

"I've come across people very high up in the legal profession [that use cannabis], people in RTE, teachers, architects, you name it."

Tim said he used the drug regularly from the age of 16 until he was 40 and experienced no negative side effects.

"It's had a good effect on my life. I've led a very responsible life and I've done a lot of things I'm proud of, I've even won a mayor's award," he said.

However another caller, Chris Lawlor, agreed with Duffy and argued cannabis should not be decriminalised.

"I've seen the psychotic effect drugs have on young people, these so called 'soft drugs'.

"Drugs don't have a positive effect on a person's mental or physical health," Lawlor said.

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