Saturday 21 April 2018

Exclusive: 'If somebody is caught with €300 of coke they shouldn’t be locked up for it' - newly elected TD

Newly elected TD Gino Kenny: 'I’ve had a good time with cannabis'

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

People should not be jailed for possessing €300 worth of cocaine, a newly elected TD has said.

Dublin Mid-West representative Gino Kenny has admitted to having “a good time” while taking cannabis – and suggested other members of the Dáil have taken drugs too.

Speaking on ‘The Floating Voter’ podcast, Mr Kenny said: “We have to have a debate in this country about decriminalising drugs.”

He pointed to the Portuguese model where people caught with small quantities of cannabis, heroin and cocaine are offered counselling and other assistance rather than being held criminally responsible.

His view is backed up by a report compiled by an Oireachtas committee on justice that was published last year.

Mr Kenny said that in his constituency, which includes areas like Neilstown and Clondalkin, drug use is a significant problem.

“It’s not a panacea to say ‘decriminalise drugs tomorrow’. But have to do something completely different from what we are doing. People are dying as we speak,” he said.

Although Mr Kenny said that heroin is in “serious decline” it has been replaced by “benzos and coke and crack”.

“I think cannabis should be legalised – but smoking copious amounts when you’re young is not good for you at all because it’s so strong,” he said.

“People are always going to take drugs, there’s people in the Dáil and every sphere of life who take drugs.

“I’ve taken drugs. A lot of people have taken drug. I’ve smoked cannabis. I’ve had a good time with cannabis,” the AAA-PBP TD said

He added: “I’m not talking about going over to the nearest shop and getting legal highs because they are actually quiet dangerous. I think certain drugs should be decriminalised completely.

“It’s a more nuanced argument. I’m hoping that we can have a debate.”

He said gardaí have “more important” issue to deal.  “If somebody is caught with €300 worth of coke they shouldn’t be locked up for that.”

On the podcast, Mr Kenny also discussed why he gives Fianna Fáil no credit for the suspension of water charges, the housing crisis and how he will never wear a suit in the Dáil.         

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