29th September 2023 – The Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use will hold its fifth and penultimate meeting this weekend, Saturday 30th September and Sunday 1st October, in The Grand Hotel, Malahide.
Focussing primarily on drugs prevention strategies and practice, the meeting will be the final opportunity for members to discuss the substantive issues under consideration prior to voting on recommendations at the sixth and final Assembly meeting at the end of October.
A range of speakers including Chief Medical Officer Prof. Breda Smyth, former Dublin football manager Jim Gavin, and social justice campaigner Fr Peter McVerry, will share their perspectives on drugs prevention ranging from early childhood education to tertiary prevention initiatives. Sunday’s session will also include presentations on health-led recovery, governance, and funding options.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s meeting, the Chairman of the Assembly, Paul Reid, highlighted the extensive work that has been done to date, and said he looked forward to this weekend’s further discussions before next month’s meeting to agree recommendations.
Mr Reid commented, “In just under six months the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use has covered a wide range of topics, heard from many different voices and perspectives, and received almost 800 submissions from the public regarding the issue of drugs use. This weekend’s meeting will round-off those discussions with a focus on prevention measures that are crucial in how we approach the issue of limiting the harm caused by drugs.
“Drugs use is a complex issue. Prevention is therefore a crucial part on how we approach the entire issue and it is important that members have the opportunity to hear from all those working in the area including policymakers, academics, service providers and prevention specialists.
“Following this meeting, members will begin to agree the final ballot paper that they will be asked to vote on at our next and concluding meeting at the end of October. Thise recommendations will be the substance of the final report that the Assembly will present to Government and the Oireachtas by the end of the year.
“I look forward to this weekend and wish to thank all members and speakers for their participation in what is extremely vital and important work.”
The draft running order for the meeting is:
Saturday, 30th September 2023 – Grand Hotel, Malahide
|9:15am||Perspectives on Prevention I
Gregor Burkhart, Principal scientific analyst (Prevention), EMCDDA
Karen O’Connor and Richie Stafford, Department of Health
Celeste O’Callaghan, Department of Education
Dr. Michael Byrne, Head of Student Health Services, UCC
|11:15am||Perspectives on Prevention II
Prof. Breda Smyth, Chief Medical Officer
Prof. Catherine Comiskey, Trinity College Dublin
Prof. Mary Cannon, Consultant psychiatrist
Prof. Denis Cusack, Director, Medical Bureau of Road Safety
|14:00pm||Case Studies on Prevention
Roger Mehta, Addiction Counsellor and Psychotherapist
Dr. Ian Marder, Maynooth University
Judge Olann Kelleher, Joe Kirby (HSE), and Declan O’Riordan (Coolmine)
Nicola Corrigan, HSE National Social Inclusion Office
Fr. Peter McVerry
Andy O’Hara, UISCE
Fiona Ward, Department of Social Protection
Jim Gavin, NEIC
Sunday, 1st October 2023 – Grand Hotel, Malahide
|9am||Resilience & Wellbeing
Professor Patrick Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth & Civic Engagement, University of Galway
Laura Dunleavy, Kinship Care Ireland
Aubrey McCarthy, Co-founder and Chairman, Tiglin
|11:05am||Governance & Funding Options
Jim Walsh, Department of Health
Brian Galvin, Health Research Board
Dr. Peter Kelly, TCD School of Nursing
Joe O’Neill, Western Region Drug and Alcohol Task Force
Dr. Orlaigh Quinn
Clondalkin Drug and Alcohol Task Force Prevention and Education Initiative
|13:00pm||Chair’s closing remarks|