Former assistant commissioner Jack Nolan also said that a debate should commence on the legalisation of drugs.
In a very rare public comment by a former senior garda on drug decriminalisation, Mr Nolan said that while Ireland’s fundamental legislation — the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 — had many successes, it was “time, now, to look at different options”.
The Department of Health is conducting a public consultation on the issue, to inform a high-level State expert group on possible alternatives to the criminalisation of drug possession.
In an interview in Hot Press, the former Dublin police chief distinguished between decriminalising the substance and decriminalising the person using it.
“There’s no one seeking to decriminalise the actual substance,” he said. “I personally favour the option of decriminalising the person found in possession of smaller amount of drugs.”
He said the establishment of the State Working Group on alternatives was a very positive step.
“There are opportunities in the debate that’s now commencing in this country to decriminalise possession of smaller amounts of drugs, rather than impacting on the life chances of somebody, from an employment or travel perspective,” said Mr Nolan.
He said the world followed the law-enforcement model in dealing with the drugs problem and said it was “certainly required” in relation to dealing, importation, and associated criminality.
“But, the person at the end of the food chain, who suffers on the street, has been somewhat forgotten about,” he said
Source: Cormac O'Keeffe, The Irish Examiner, 06/07/18