Reforms to Local & Regional Drugs Task Forces

December 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Today (18 December 2012) I announced the conclusions of a review of Drugs Task Forces undertaken by the Department of Health.

Drugs Task Forces were set up in areas experiencing the highest levels of drug misuse, particularly heroin, in the late 1990s.  With the establishment of the Regional Drugs Task Forces, they now form part of a nationwide response to substance misuse.

The Review recommends a series of reforms to better equip the Drugs Task Forces to respond to the current pattern of substance misuse. The key changes include:

–        Drugs Task Forces to be renamed “Drug and Alcohol Task Forces” reflecting their current role in tackling substance misuse, including alcohol;

–        National Coordinating Committee to be established to guide the work of the Drug and Alcohol Task Forces and drive implementation of the National Drugs Strategy;

–        Clearer terms of reference and corporate governance guidelines for Drug and Alcohol Task Forces; Measures to encourage more Public Representative involvement in the work of Drug and Alcohol Task Forces and Review of the number and boundaries of Drugs Task Forces, mainly in Dublin.

I believe one of the most notable achievements of the Drugs Task Forces is the extent to which they have engaged communities and encouraged inter-agency working at the local level. The reforms that I have announced today are focused on strengthening the impact of Drugs Task Forces so that they continue to be central to the local response to tackling the drug and alcohol problem.

In excess of €28m will be made available to Drugs Task Forces from the Drugs Initiative Fund next year to support community based drugs initiatives.  Drugs Task Forces are currently in the process of determining individual allocations to projects in accordance with their local priorities for 2013.

It is my intention to bring forward further measures to improve management and control of expenditure by the community drugs projects overseen by the Drugs Task Forces in the New Year.

Community Safety Fora

December 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Today I approved the allocation of €100,000 from the Drugs Initiative Fund to support the Community Safety Fora in Tallaght and Clondalkin next year.

€50,000 in current funding, which has been earmarked for the Community Safety Fora, will be made available to Tallaght Local Drugs Task Force and Clondalkin Local Drugs Task Force respectively in 2013.

I’m pleased that this allocation can help to secure the long term sustainability of community safety initiatives developed by estate management groups in Killinarden and Fettercairn in Tallaght, and by community safety fora in North Clondalkin and South West Clondalkin.

If we are to be successful in tackling the overall fight against drugs, we must do all we can to foster co-operation between local communities, the Local Authorities and An Garda Síochána.

This funding will ensure that communities in Tallaght and Clondalkin can continue their efforts to improve their neighbourhoods and keep their streets free of drug dealing and associated anti-social behaviour.

 

South Dublin County Council, which has a long association with these initiatives, will be responsible for disbursing the funds at local level.

Drugs Task Forces play a key role in assessing the extent and nature of the drug problem in their areas and co-ordinating action at local level so that there is a targeted response to the drug problem in local communities.

The National Drugs Strategy indicates that initiatives which foster cooperation between local communities, the Local Authorities and An Garda Síochána create conditions of trust in which the drugs problems can be addressed in a proactive and concerted way.

 

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