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19 June 2023 – The Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use will hold its third meeting this weekend, Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 June, in The Grand Hotel Malahide, where members will focus on the role of the health and community sectors in significantly reducing the harmful impacts of illicit drugs use on individuals, families, and communities.

The 99 members and independent Chair, Paul Reid, will examine policy and service delivery in these areas, including contributions from experts in health-led strategies from Portugal and Austria as countries regarded as leading the way in reducing the harmful impact of illicit drugs use.

The meeting will also hear from a wide number of health agencies and authorities including the Health Research Board, the Health Services Executive, and individual medical practitioners operating across all levels of the health service. Speakers from a range of community organisations and local service providers will speak about their services, treatments, and range of supports to communities across the country.

The third meeting of the Assembly follows the initial focus on national policy and understanding the harmful impact of illicit drugs use. Members will consider health-led and community-based measures that could potentially form part of the Assembly’s final recommendations later this year. Subsequent meetings in the autumn will consider criminal justice issues, current and proposed legislation, prevention measures, and public awareness.

Speaking ahead of the meeting Chair Paul Reid said that following the introductory meetings members are beginning to focus on outcomes, and that this weekend’s meeting is an opportunity for members to begin to think about what is needed to reduce the harmful impact of illicit drugs use.

Mr Reid commented, “The Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use is entering a new phase. In our first two meetings we concentrated on scene-setting, understanding the current policy environment, and also how drugs impact individuals, families, and communities. Now, we are focussing on what needs to be done.

“We are looking at both the international experience and hearing from a range of health and community experts to see what they believe needs to change here in Ireland. There is a lot for us to consider, but I look forward to some frank and honest conversations about the type of policies that need to be put in place so that we can bring forward recommendations to the Oireachtas at the end of this year that will make a real difference to people’s lives.”

The draft running order for the meeting is:

Saturday, 24 June 2023 – Grand Hotel, Malahide

9.00am Formal opening by Chairperson Paul Reid
9.15am Health-led strategies – Dr Suzi Lyons, Health Research Board; Jim Walsh, Dept of Health; Nuno Capaz, SICAD Portugal; Dr Alfred Uhl, Austria

Roundtable discussion and Q&A

11.15am Strategic Service Delivery Partnerships – Eamon Keenan, HSE; John Bennett and Bríd Walsh, Local and National Drug and Alcohol Task Forces; Dermot King, NVDAS, Tommy Gilson, JADD; Joe Kirby, HSE Cork and Kerry,
Roundtable discussion and Q&A
2pm Targeted Harm Reduction – Tony Duffin, Ana Liffey Project; Catherine Kenny, Dublin Simon; Nicki Killeen, HSE; Gary Broderick, SAOL
Roundtable discussion and Q&A
3.45pm Treatment – Dr Anne Marie Carew, HRB; Dr Sean Foy, Psychologist; Dr Ide Delargy, GP; Dr Gerry McCarney, SASSY
Roundtable discussion and Q&A
5.30pm Conclusion


Sunday, 25 June 2023

9am Recovery – Prof Jo-Hanna Ivers, followed by panel discussion chaired by Dearbhail McDonaldPanellists: Noel Murphy, Daniel Jones, Nicola Smith, Mick Devine
Roundtable discussion and Q&A
11am Innovative supports for families and communities – Panel discussion chaired by Dearbhail McDonaldPanellists: Anna Quigley, Breda Fell, Dr Austin O’Carroll, Joe Slattery
Roundtable discussion and Q&A
12.15pm Plenary Session and feedback from members
1.15pm Conclusion


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, Sabrina D’Angelo 086 032 3397 / Lorna Gardiner 086 076 1374 / Ronan Farren 087 934 0386