A former assistant Garda Commissioner has called for the decriminalisation of people caught with small amounts of illicit drugs.
The current approach to drug policy in Ireland is criminalising young people and minimising their life chances, Jack Nolan, who retired from the force last year, told a town hall-style meeting on the issue last night.
The meeting, at the Wood Quay venue in Dublin city centre, was organised by the Ana Liffey Drug Project to coincide with the start of a public consultation on whether our current laws need to change.
Nolan, who at the time of his retirement was heading up policing in the Dublin Metropolitan Region and who now sits on Ana Liffey’s board, said the area of drug decriminalisation was a complex one and that there were no “silver bullet” solutions.
It was now 41 years since the introduction of the Misuse of Drugs Act, he said, observing that he had served in the gardaí for 40 of those years “and I don’t think there was any meeting or any planning session I went to where drugs or drug use or the sale or supply of drugs was not mentioned”.
“I have been involved in operations, directed operations, managed operations – and I suppose at the end of that 41 years it’s hard to say there are less drugs available in this country.”
“That is something that we must consider very, very closely – why are drugs so easily available?”
Drugs, he said, were widely available at our schools, at music festivals and at pubs all over the country – adding that the global drug trade was worth around €500 billion a year.
Source: Daragh Brophy, The Journal.ie, 13/06/18