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02 September 2023 – The fourth meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use that is meeting through this weekend at The Grand Hotel, Malahide, has heard a range of perspectives on Ireland’s place in the international drugs trade and associated criminal activity.

Speakers representing An Garda Síochána and other organisations involved in monitoring the international drugs trade described how extensively that criminality in Ireland is related to drugs trafficking, sale and distribution, which in turn is driven by consumption demand, and that this must be considered in any assessment of changes to existing drugs laws.

The meeting also heard examples of how the courts, Gardai and community organisations can help divert those who use drugs away from criminalisation through a range of health and education-led interventions and rehabilitation methods.

Many speakers commented that current resources are extremely stretched, both in terms of addressing the supply of drugs into Ireland and in providing appropriate services to people who use drugs when they enter the criminal justice system.

The Assembly will continue its deliberations through the weekend, with Sunday’s session focussing on what Ireland’s drugs laws could look like if any changes are to be made. Members will have the opportunity to consider the question of legislative approaches ahead of the fifth and sixth meetings of the Assembly when they will vote on final recommendations to be made to the Oireachtas.

Speaking about today’s meeting the Chair of the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use, Paul Reid, said, “We are now over halfway through the Assembly’s work programme and are starting to focus on what type of final recommendations we will make. As part of this, it is extremely important to consider the views of those involved in how the justice system manages the drugs issue.

“This is an extremely complicated discussion. Members are being provided with a significant level of detail and a range of views that will help us make an informed set of recommendations. I want to thank all speakers and members of the Assembly for their commitment and effort in our important work.”

The agenda for Sunday’s meeting is:

Sunday, 3 September 2023 – Grand Hotel, Malahide


9am Stakeholder Perspective

Eddie D’Arcy, Youth Workers Against Prohibition

Prof. Anne Doherty, College of Psychiatrists of Ireland

Graham Temple, Crainn

Prof. Bobby Smyth, Cannabis Risk Alliance

10:15 – 12:15 Exploring Legal Frameworks

Brendan Hughes, EMCDDA

Prof. Tom O’Malley, Galway University

Dr. James Windle, UCC

Prof. Yvonne Daly, DCU

Prof. Andrew Percy, QUB

Prof. Deirdre Healy, UCD

Prof. John Garry, QUB and Advisory Support Group

12:45 Chair’s closing remarks


All proceedings will be available to view live at Members of the media seeking media interviews or to attend the session are requested to contact Q4 Public Relations via the details below.


Ends – For more info contact Q4 Public Relations, Lorna Gardiner 086 076 1374 / Ronan Farren 087 934 0386