Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dial to Stop Drug Dealing funding terminated

Sinn Féin Councillor Shane O Connor and North Clondalkin representative Matthew McDonagh sharply criticised the government after the Minister for Drugs announced that the Dial to Stop Drug Dealing non Garda confidential free phone line will cease to operate when funding runs out, which could be imminent. This is despite the success of the initiative in generating useful information and leads for Garda investigations, a fact acknowledged by the Minister himself.
They said "This is an absolutely ludicrous position to be in just five months after the campaign was officially launched. The project which was piloted in Blanchardstown has been extremely successful and it is not at all expensive relative to the cost of drug related crime. Certainly it has more than provided value for money unlike some of the other schemes that this Government has embarked on. The Minister himself has previously noted the success of the scheme. They are sure that those in the community who have used this service will be stunned at this decision. "The Minister has revealed that there is a fixed price per call made to the line and when the small amount of dormant accounts funds remaining are expended the service will cease to exist. We are in the paradoxical situation whereby the more successful this initiative is the quicker it will be pulled by government."
"We are calling on the Minister to secure ongoing funding for this campaign to ensure that its operation is secured into the foreseeable future. It must not become another victim of the recession. It is not a huge investment that is required. Sinn Féin feels that investment in combating drugs will have a positive economic return in the long term as associated crime rates drop and the number of addicts seeking treatment falls."

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