Gary Gannon TD

State’s law and order response to drug addiction has been a catastrophic failure

Solutions to crime can only be found if the Government tackles the underlying causes of poverty and deprivation, according to Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon.

Deputy Gannon, who represents Dublin Central, made his comments as statements on organised crime were heard in the Dáil today.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This has been the State’s approach to drug addiction for almost 50 years. It is abundantly clear to anyone who lives in Dublin’s inner city that a law and order response to drug-related crime has been a catastrophic failure.

“We need to look at models in other countries to find possible solutions. Portugal decriminalised drug use over 20 years ago and instead adopted a health-based approach to addiction. As a result, it has seen a substantial drop in drug deaths, as well as related HIV cases. Drug injection rates also declined, especially among young people and new users.

“This is just one example of other countries doing things better than us. The Icelandic model for tackling crime places a strong emphasis on prevention as the first line of defence. This approach includes early intervention programmes for at-risk youth, education opportunities and community policing initiatives.

“There must be a greater focus on building trust and cooperation between the gardaí and the public. Enhanced community policing and increased visibility of gardaí on the streets is the key to achieving this.

“Unless we tackle the underlying causes of poverty by offering our young people new opportunities, better amenities and hope, we will never break the cycle of crime in our communities.”

April 20, 2023

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