I wish to share time with Deputy Sargent.
Private Members' Business. - Drug Abuse: Motion (Resumed).
I am sure that is satisfactory and agreed.
The increasing problem of drugs, especially among our young people, is something with which all Members of this House are duly concerned. However, there are no doubt a number of different approaches to dealing with the escalating problem.
The drugs problem is a cancer eating away at the very heart of our society and destroying the lives of thousands of our young people. Those who push drugs on young people are the greatest scourge in our communities and deserve nothing but the appropriate punishment to meet the crimes they are commiting on society. They are festering on and destroying the lives of many of our young people.
Members will be aware that the drugs problem is closely associated with many other social problems that exist in modern Ireland. It is common knowledge that there is a close correlation between drug use and crime. The fact that heroin users in Dublin are three times more likely than non-users to have been arrested for robbery or assault speaks volumes.
The fact that another recent study has shown that approximately 60 per cent of heroin users had been arrested for robbery should clearly indicate to the House that if we are serious about solving our escalating crime problem then we as legislators, and society as a whole, must initiate measures to eradicate our growing drug problem. One problem feeds off another and multiplies, leaving nothing but devastation in its wake. It is up to us as legislators to come up with proposals which will adequately deal with these problems and ensure a better and safer society for all our citizens.
I am most concerned with the effects drug use has on our young people. A survey undertaken by the National Youth Council of Ireland last year shows that 60 per cent of the young people surveyed had actually been offered drugs. This is distressing news. What makes matters worse is that two-thirds of the young people surveyed said they did not believe there was sufficient information available to young people on the dangers of drugs. There is an onus on all of us to do something positive about this. While I am aware of many worthy programmes that seek to increase awareness of the dangers of drugs to young people, it is obvious that they need to be extended radically before the situation gets totally out of hand.
While rehabilitation clinics and centres for recovering addicts etc. are all very important and have a vital role to play, greater emphasis must be placed on preventative measures. Surely it would be far more effective to prevent young people becoming hooked on drugs rather than having to treat them afterwards and all the associated problems such as drug related crime.
I take this opportunity to call on the Government to support the introduction of national guidelines for youth workers and those working with young people who come into contact with illegal drugs. It is surely sensible that those who are working at the coalface, so to speak, should be aware of the procedures to be followed when dealing with young people who have come into contact with drugs. National guidelines similar to those for the juvenile liaison system would be especially effective in this regard.
Apart from sensible educational and preventative measures such as those I have mentioned, effective punishment must be meted out to those animals who are peddling drugs to our young people and destroying their and their families' lives.
Let us be honest about the problem. Ordinary people know the drug pushers — the Garda know them — yet they are allowed walk around our streets pushing their lethal goods on our young people. This cannot be tolerated any longer. The Garda must be given whatever authority they need to ensure that these scum are taken off our streets and out of our communities for good.
It is a ridiculous state of affairs that known drug pushers can show off their ill-gotten wealth with flashy expensive cars, large houses and lifestyles of luxury while the young people on whom they push their drugs are forced, as a result of their dependency, to eke out a miserable existence and turn to crime to feed their habit.
On behalf of the Green Party I wish to add what I know about the drugs problem. I express my appreciation to the Deputies who have allowed me time to contribute. I know of no animal, apart from some humans, who depends on drugs in the way we do: it may not be appropriate to call them animals in the sense which has been used. All the attention which has been given to drugs in Dublin and Cork blurs the extent of the problem we are dealing with.
I represent Dublin North, a largely rural area. Schools, secondary schools particularly, clubs and some strange places are being infiltrated by people dealing in drugs. The problem is not confined to soft drugs but involves heroin and ecstasy, which is more widespread that it was a few years ago. Drogheda has a serious heroin problem. Laytown, a small seaside resort, has a big problem with E tablets and cannabis. It is clear the problem is out of control. Many friends of mine have said that on separate occasions, mainly on Saturday evenings, while walking down Dame Street in Dublin, it would be unusual not to be approached three or four times by boys and girls as young as 11 years of age offering ecstasy tablets. The problem is widespread. The Star newspaper referred to one street nearby as E street, so notorious was it for the practice of people being offered this drug. This is happening to everybody, not just people dressed in a certain way.
It appears that the problem of ecstasy is not an isolated one. Because it is consumed by young people who are still in the charge of their parents it is associated with heroin. Young people are offered heroin to relieve them — if I can use that expression — of the effects of ecstasy so that they may go home to their parents, who can remain completely ignorant of the fact that they have been consuming drugs. In fact they are being weaned on to heroin to replace their dependency on ecstasy. Part of the problem relates to the price of ecstasy tablets, which, I understand, has decreased from £25 to £8.
If the information about the harmful effects of drugs is widespread it is not getting through. It is clear that young people are bombarded with propaganda that one drug is the same as the other and that everything is a drug. While I can see some perverted logic in trying to talk about the wider definition of drugs and addiction in a consumer society, it is obscene to think that drugs such as heroin and ecstasy are regarded as harmless. That is an absolute disgrace.
I watched a programme on television recently which highlighted the real effects of cannabis. Whereas before it was considered to be a type of social drug in some parts of the world, the brain damage it causes is regarded as a crime.
The Government may claim that the problem is being dealt with, but there are only 22 people operating from the Drugs Squad, all of whom are known to drug dealers. They cannot go anywhere without drug dealers knowing where they are and assaulting them. It is high time the Government realised that younger people would be better able to infiltrate these circles of crime than some of the old hands who are failing. As happened in the 1980s in Sheriff Street, younger people should be recruited by the Garda for undercover duties.
I would like to share my time with Deputy Costello.
Do we not have a Government slot of half an hour?
It is up to the Minister to speak first.
I had an understanding with the Whip as to how time was to be allocated.
On a point of order, it would be helpful if the Minister of State put on record the agreement in regard to speaking and with whom she proposes to share time.
I wish to share time with Deputies Mulvihill, Flanagan, Fitzgerald, Eric Byrne, Costello and Kemmy.
The Deputies referred to have half an hour at their disposal.
I wish to remove my name from the list of time sharers.
The slot reverts to us at 7.40 p.m.
Let us not waste any more time.
I agree with the Chair, but we could have more cohesion on the Government side.
It is a reflection of the seriousness of the issue that so many people are eager to contribute, and I am anxious to facilitate them because it is important that we hear reports from around the country. I recognise that we have a serious drug problem, it has been estimated that there are about 5,000 people with drug problems in Dublin. Much of the crime against people and property is related to drug abuse. In Dublin we face a threat from drugs which is on the same scale as was posed by terrorist violence.
I recognise that there is no simple answer to the drugs problem. The causes are complex and are unquestionably related to social deprivation and exclusion. The effects are known to everyone. Apart from the total devastation in the lives of addicts and their families the problem affects all society and is enormously costly in terms of crime, health services, social and other services.
Such a problem requires an appropriate level of response and that is why the Government strategy to prevent drug abuse seeks to address this complex and difficult issue with a multidisciplinary approach with action in the areas of demand reduction, supply reduction and increased access to treatment and rehabilitation programmes.
The strategy proposes an integrated attack on the drug problem at a number of different levels to include educating young people in the dangers of drug abuse; preventing the traffickers bringing drugs into Ireland; and concerted action by the Garda, Customs Service and Defence Forces against drug criminals. In addition the threat facing society must be met by appropriate legal sanctions and reform of legal and court structures which currently inhibit effective action against drug criminals must be implemented. Measures have already been put in place and further measures are being examined as a matter of urgency by my Department, including the question of rehabilitating addicts.
In regard to improved use of Garda resources, this year the Garda are being provided with £413 million — the highest amount ever. Over the next three years 1,050 extra gardaí will be recruited. Gardaí currently on clerical duties will be systematically replaced by a further 200 civilian staff. This will lead to a substantial increase in the operational strength of the force particularly in the areas of community policing and the Drugs Squad.
I assure the House that the Garda, the Customs service and the Defence Forces are committed to an unrelenting war. There can be no half-measures.
In the remaining time available to me, I would like to briefly mention a number of other measures being taken.
The Minister for Justice will be bringing proposals to Government very shortly on putting in place the best arrangements for achieving a cohesive and co-ordinated response to the drug trafficking problem by the existing law enforcement agencies. The European Drugs Unit, which became operational in 1994, is exchanging and co-ordinating drugs intelligence throughout the European Union. Many recent finds were based on good intelligence work.
The Criminal Justice Act, 1994, provides for the seizure and confiscation of the proceeds of crime, including drug trafficking. My colleague, the Minister for Education, Deputy Bhreathnach, and her Department, co-operate actively with the various agencies concerned with the prevention of drug abuse.
Since 1992 special funding has been allocated each year to allow for the development of extensive prevention and treatment services by the Eastern Health Board, which, with the Drug Treatment Centre in Pearse Street and voluntary organisations, provides such services in the Dublin area where the majority of drug users reside.
The Eastern Health Board is commissioning a ten bed unit at Cherry Orchard Hospital and it is hoped to have it available in the middle of June.
It is planned to carry out a full review to establish how best to manage the problems of access to drugs and the treatment of drug-addicted offenders. In this context, the question of providing extended methadone maintenance treatment programmes in prisons, in consultation with community health agencies, is currently being explored. The establishment of a detoxification facility, with a drug free unit within the existing prison system, is under active consideration at present. All these elements are essential in the fight against the scourge of the misuse of drugs.
The recent RGDATA survey entitled "Violence in the Shops" provides ample evidence of a deteriorating crime problem in our capital city and the need for a comprehensive plan to tackle it. Further, the concentration on shops in daylight reflects a shift in criminal activity to small, open accessible targets. That further reflects the epidemic of drug abuse sweeping the country. Drug abusers are desperate and will seek the most accessible source of funding for their addiction on a day to day basis. Therefore, small retail outlets are vulnerable and prime targets.
In addition to the measures announced by the Minister of State, steps should be taken urgently to secure weapons at present in the hands of Northern paramilitaries before they begin to trickle into the hands of criminals. The internal strife between the Garda Representative Association and the Garda Federation must be resolved so that energy is not dissipated and morale undermined in the Garda at this critical time. Furthermore, the Garda should be redeployed from Border duty, given refresher training and put back on the streets of our cities. In line with what the Minister said, the Revenue Commissioners must be let loose on the drug barons who are known to the Garda, who have no visible means of support but who have substantial assets. The provisions of the Criminal Justice Act, 1994, which empowers the Garda to seize and freeze suspected criminal assets must be implemented. The Department of Health must put in place a city-wide framework of detoxification units, and I am delighted with the doubling of the beds in Cherry Orchard Hospital. Satellite clinics for methadone maintenance need to be increased, and that has been done too. Needle exchange and counselling with in-patient and out-patient facilities must be provided and, finally, a downstream general practitioner service for stabilised drug users.
The service must also be radically reformed to respond to the medical needs of drug abusers who largely populate the prisons. Although we have a drug epidemic, the problem is not insoluble if we take the right approach urgently.
I commend the Minister for Justice and the Minister of State for their constructive comments on the drugs emergency. The greatest manifestation of evil in Ireland today is the drug culture. Sadly, it is no longer confined to Dublin and Cork, it is nationwide. Ecstasy tablets and hashish are widely available on the streets of provincial Ireland, including my rural constituency. As Deputy Costello mentioned, there is evidence to suggest that paramilitaries, both republican and loyalist, made redundant in the peace process have now turned to drug trafficking. They have changed from purveying death in one form to purveying death in another. The peace process must have released cohorts of gardaí and members of the RUC from security duty who must now be deployed to combat the drugs problem. It is essential that there be a joint Garda-RUC cross Border drugs initiative which would be of great assistance in the detection of criminal activity with specific reference to drugs.
In spite of recent successes when millions of pounds worth of drugs were seized by the Customs and Garda, this country is the gateway to Europe for many international drug rings and our coastal surveillance and protection is hopelessly inadequate. It is estimated that 80 per cent of crime in Dublin is now drug related. Recent happenings in Cork show that the rule of law is under threat underlining the need for the Government and the Dáil to wage war on the drug barons and remove them from our streets. Drug related murders, stabbings, beatings and kidnappings feature daily on our streets. In 1995 the discotheque is especially noted for drugs. This is a sad reflection on our society as we approach the turn of the century.
The resource base of the Garda, the Army, the Customs Service and the Naval Service must be overhauled in so far as budgets relate to the war against drugs. I call for a greater level of co-ordination between the Government Departments of Education, Health, Justice and Defence. It was pleasing to hear the Minister of State speak about this issue tonight. Her senior colleague did likewise last night. Consideration should be given to setting up a national drugs agency which would bring together the best available expertise not only from the State sector but also from the voluntary and community sector to eradicate the misuse of drugs within society.
I commend Young Fine Gael for its recent initiative. Its study is worthwhile and I hope it will find its way to the Department of Justice.
There should be specialised trained Garda units at our ports. This is not the case at present. International drug trafficking throughout Ireland will be overcome with expert and financial assistance from the European Union. That the Taoiseach recently highlighted this problem, at Head of State level indicates the seriousness with which the Government views the issue. The youth of Europe are every bit as vulnerable to this evil as Irish youth.
I welcome the opportunity to contribute on this important issue. Not only is this a serious problem at national level it is also a serious problem internationally. It is clear that at national level the Government is committed to tackling it. In this regard the Minister will soon present the Government with proposals. The Taoiseach indicated that he wants this issue to be included on the agenda for the intergovernmental conference next year. It was also on the agenda at the Western European Union meeting last week. At international level we have to ensure that economies do not depend completely on the manufacture of drugs as is the case in some countries. We will not solve the problem unless it is tackled at all levels. It is a complex issue.
In the time available to me I wish to focus on teenagers and to comment on Garda numbers. It is important that we do not alarm the public unnecessarily about the number of gardaí involved in tackling the drugs problem. Some speakers seemed to indicate there has been a decrease in the number of gardaí involved full-time in drug duties but this is not the case.
In the mid-1980s we had the central drugs squad based at Store Street and outside Dublin we had units in Cork and Limerick. Today there are drug units in each of the five Garda divisions in the city and their activities are co-ordinated through the central drugs squad based in Harcourt Street. This enables the central drugs squad to monitor the activities of drug dealers all over the city and has significantly enhanced the Garda's intelligence gathering capability. We have seen evidence of this in recent weeks in the number of drug seizures. There are full-time drug units operating in Santry, Cabra and Raheny and in a number of other areas to which I will not refer.
Of the number of people in Dublin addicted to drugs there are between 10,000 and 12,000 individuals attending the various drug treatment centres. It is estimated that 20 per cent or 2,500 of these are teenagers. Many teenage drug addicts are not receiving treatment and are not included in any official statistics. We therefore have a major problem on our hands.
We need to adopt a special approach to prevent young people from developing a drugs habit. In addition, we need to provide more specialist facilities separate from adult facilities. It is not helpful if young people experimenting with drugs or addicted to them end up in the same treatment facilities as adults. We will have to take extra special measures to reach out to young people.
There is an enormous quantity of ectasy tablets available on our streets. Many young people in Dublin and elsewhere do not realise that when they buy ecstasy tablets they are buying a dangerous manufactured drug which often contains additives such as rat poison, heroin and amphetamines. Taking this drug can be extremely dangerous and even lead to death. We have to target health and education programmes to get that message across to young people. As the Minister suggested last night co-operation between the Departments of Education, Justice and Health is the way to tackle the problem.
There is also a need to provide a freephone advisory service for young people. Such a service was provided during the European Week for preventing drug abuse and there was a strong response from parents and young people throughout the country looking for information. There is evidence that young people experimenting with drugs, are under peer pressure or are being bullied and find it difficult to talk to parents or school teachers. We ought to develop a confidential telephone service for them. Six member states of the European Union have provided such a service and one is operating successfully in Belfast. The Departments of Health and Justice should consider providing such a service. Both Departments supported the provision of this service during the European Week for preventing drug abuse.
In my constituency the Phoenix Centre in Fenian Street is trying to develop an outreach programme for adolescents. Programmes such as this offering specialist help will make a difference and direct young people who have become addicted on to another route. The Phoenix Centre also sends representatives to speak to young people in schools to encourage them to ask questions about the drugs they have been offered or with which they are experimenting.
There is a need for action at many levels. At present ruthless drug pushers in Dublin are exploiting young people. We are being given a lesson in marketing. The drug used to cost £25 but it now costs only £10. I have no doubt that as more adolescents become addicted the price will increase and the inevitable search for money to buy drugs will lead to crime.
Currently 340 people in the Eastern Health Board area are waiting for life saving treatment: treatment that could not only save the life of the addict but possibly the lives — and reduce the suffering — of thousands of victims of drug abusers. If these were ordinary patients suffering from some form of organic disease there would be a national outcry. Instead they are drug abusers waiting for places on methadone maintenance programmes and, sadly, the response to their plight is a deafening silence.
I am delighted that the Progressive Democrats have chosen to highlight the drugs issue and in particular have focused on the problems facing addicted offenders, a matter which I raised on the Adjournment last month. I do not necessarily agree with the PD's recipe, but it has most of the ingredients right.
Drugs, like any other product, are subject to the laws of the market. Esctasy is currently available on the streets of Dublin for as little as £3 per tablet and the price is continuing to drop due to what can only be termed a glut on the market. Both the motion from the Progressive Democrats and the Government's amendment deal largely with the end of the supply chain, the drug abuser. Before dealing with some of the issues raised in the motion. I would like to focus on the beginning of that chain.
Ireland is not a drugs producer. We grow neither marijuana nor poppies, and we do not manufacture ecstasy. The drugs consumed on our streets are imported. We must address the trade both in the countries of origin and at the points of entry. In this regard I hope that Ireland, together with our EU partners, will address the fact that ecstasy is flowing into the EU from Eastern European countries such as Czechoslovakia and Romania, marijuana and cannabis resin are being imported from North Africa and Central Asia and heroin is being imported from South America. Nowhere is the global village more apparent than in the drugs trade.
Drugs are the single greatest health issue facing society. Because of the illicit nature of drug abuse, we do not know precisely how many people are affected. In Dublin South Central there is a serious drugs problem.
In Dublin as a whole it is estimated that there are between 5,000 and 6,000 drug addicts, and this does not include the occasional users who may become addicts in the future. Even if one accepts the figure of 5,000 addicts, just 20 per cent are receiving treatment for their addiction with 860 on methadone programmes and about 100 availing of other forms of treatment.
The Progressive Democrat's motion calls for "more than one national custodial and detoxification centre". I am not quite sure what is meant by that. All custodial centres are by implication detoxification centres since, in theory anyway, drugs must be left at the prison door. We all know, of course, that theory and practice are two very different things.
Detoxification simply means that drugs are flushed from the body. There is no guarantee that an addict, once detoxified, will not resume his addiction again at the first opportunity. The vast majority of detoxified addicts renew their addiction, which is why the methadone maintenance programme is the key to resolving this problem. Methadone maintenance is widely acknowledged as the most effective means of breaking the dependence on heroin. Our efforts should focus on establishing as many local methadone maintenance programmes as possible, backed up by counselling, support services and rehabilitation programmes.
Maintenance programmes should be available in the patient's community, and, since for many addicts the community is a prison, they should be available there. Each day Mountjoy admits between four and 15 drug abusers. Those figures are further evidence of the incontrovertible link between poverty, drugs and crime: about 80 per cent of drug abusers are unemployed and since it requires around £150 a day to maintain a drugs habit, about 80 per cent of crime is thought to be drugs related. The link between crime and drugs is best and most gruesomely illustrated by the frequent use of a bloodfilled syringe as a weapon. Unless we address these issues in an integrated fashion, we will still be debating the drugs crisis ten years hence, and by then it will be a crisis of unmanageable proportions.
The priority must be the provision of more places on methadone maintenance programmes: at least 4,000 extra places are needed in the Eastern Health Board region. Methadone maintenance, however, is of little use unless it is backed up by a comprehensive rehabilitation package. There is a clear need not just to recruit extra psychologists and counsellors to the health services, but also to redeploy existing professionals to areas of high drug abuse.
We currently have a number of excellent services operating in different fields. However, there is little co-ordination between them. Very often, our crisis management has been enthusiastic but diffuse and largely ineffectual. The Eastern Health Board has developed a number of valuable initiatives such as setting up satellite clinics, particularly the Aisling centre in Cherry Orchard, but lacks the resources to build on them. In addition, its response has been handicapped by the baffling division of responsibility between the health boards and the Department of Health.
In Dublin we currently have the absurd situation where the main drug treatment centre. Trinity Court, which does not include methadone maintenance, is run by the Department of Health. In order to obtain a detoxification bed in Beaumont Hospital the Eastern Health Board must go through Trinity Court. Not only is this an unnecessary duplication of services and administration resources, it also involves a further delay for patients seeking admittance to a detoxification bed.
The time has come for drugs services to be co-ordinated under one authority, preferably the local health board, and for services to be developed to the lowest possible level and operated on a client-centred basis. Ideally I would like to see the establishment of local methadone maintenance programmes backed up by at least one community drugs project along the lines of the Merchants Quay project or Community Response in each community care area. Rather than administering a facility, as in the case of Trinity Court, the Department of Health should confine its role to co-ordination and strategy development.
Last night in the House Deputy O'Donnell made a very wide-ranging and thoughful contribution to this debate. That may sound strange coming from a Government back-bencher but I agree with most of the points she made. Nobody would begrudge giving greater resources to the Garda, but there is no point throwing good money after bad. Unless the priorities are right and we have a high quality of policing to tackle the problem, there is no point allocating more money——
There is a need to redirect resources.
I support that point. Deputy O'Donoghue may be surprised that I praise him also as I am not opposed to his suggestion of a national forum to galvanise all-party and public support on this issue. I support his good suggestion as long as it would not be a talking shop but a guide to action to take the necessary measures to deal with this problem. During the past few weeks I was intrigued that all of us in this House have been upbraided and severely criticised by people who claim to be pro-life, but life is being destroyed daily on the streets of our cities and towns. It is appalling that those who profess to be pro-life do not seem to worry about the lives of people affected by this problem. Such people are concerned about unborn life but have no regard for born life being destroyed by this immoral, evil menace.
It is important that we have co-ordination between all forces, the Garda, the Army, the Navy and customs. We have not given this problem the priority it deserves and unless we treat it as a priority life will continue to be destroyed and devalued in our cities and towns. Unfortunately, there is a fatalistic attitude among many in our society that nothing can be done, but I reject that. All forces must adopt a warlike approach to tackle the drugs problem and there is no reason we cannot use all our resources to do that, even though we are vulnerable to the importation of drugs through airports and ports. If we put our minds to tackling this problem, there is no reason we cannot succeed in turning the tide against this terrible trade.
I wish to share my time with Deputies Dan Wallace and Gregory.
I am sure that is satisfactory and agreed.
I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this important debate and I pay tribute to Deputy O'Donnell and her colleagues for tabling this Private Members' motion and to the quality of the contributions yesterday evening. I strongly support and endorse the contribution of my colleague, Deputy O'Donoghue, our spokesperson on justice. He put forward a comprehensive and radical programme to deal with this issue, including new and different proposals representing a departure from existing policies and measures for dealing with drug abuse.
I want to focus on the area of education and the absolute need for a proper education programme at primary and secondary levels. Alcohol and drug abuse is the single greatest threat to young people in society today. Having spoken to many youth workers, social workers, gardaí and teachers I am satisfied that children are being exposed to drugs and alcohol abuse at a very young age. As a society we need to give priority to tackling this problem. We are not doing so at present. The fact that the White Paper does not make any reference to alcohol and drug abuse illustrates that point.
We need to make an alcohol, drug and substance abuse programme a core part of primary and secondary level curricula. I note the motion before us refers only to secondary education. I am sure the movers of the motion accept that any such education programme should be extended to and included in the primary curriculum. I am not talking about a hit and miss type of education programme whereby various experts would be employed. We need a comprehensive programme in the first instance to give young children the self-confidence and self-esteem to withstand peer pressure in the school yard and among their school friends. If one talks to young people who have become drug addicts or involved in drug abuse, often the initial pressure to take drugs comes from children in their age group asking them to be one of the gang and to take whatever drug is on offer. It is important that self-confidence building programmes are introduced at primary level and they should be a core part of the curriculum, not taught once or twice a week or every now and again as part of a civics class. The crisis is such that it is necessary to build up an anti-drug culture for future generations.
Having entered public life I recall meeting a former student who had come through a treatment facility, but I did not realise that young person had been taking drugs. That illustrates that many teachers require assistance and inservice programmes to enable them identify signs of children who may be taking drugs or indulging in alcohol. They must be in a position to deliver effective programmes on alcohol and drug abuse. That is extremely important. We hear much about inservice teacher training programmes across a wide range of courses, but we never hear of them in the context of a comprehensive education programme on alcohol and drug abuse. An inservice programme for teachers is essential. Such a programme is also essential for parents and it should be provided in all our schools through various parent committees. Parents are crying out for guidance and assistance. At present we are depending on the goodwill of the gardaí, social workers and youth organisations to provide education programmes through public meetings and infrequent visitations to schools. If it were not for the contribution of voluntary groups, we would be in a poor state.
I am extremely disappointed that the Minister for Education has not given this issue the priority it deserves in her education agenda. It should be at the top of that agenda. Personally, I would put all other curriculum issues to one side and make this my number one issue in education because the corrosive impact of such abuse on young people is so deadly. We have seen little evidence from the Government or the Minister for Education that she or her Department consider this issue a priority.
It is increasingly important, particularly at second level, that we use the experience of many young people who were former addicts or alcoholics as they have a good deal to contribute to such an education programme. It is important that we harness their experience as they could be of great assistance to us. I am aware various submissions on this subject have been made to the Department of Education by the teachers' unions and many professionals involved in training young people. The response has not been great and I note from the Government's amendment to the motion that all we get is token support for the measures taken by the Ministers for Health and Education in the area of treatment of drug abuse. The Minister of State. Deputy Burton, stated that the Minister for Education co-operates with other agencies in this regard. That is not good enough and it reflects an inertia and a lack of urgency in dealing with this matter, particularly in the education field.
The establishment of a national forum on this issue is an excellent proposal and should be acted on immediately because that might concentrate minds on the drugs issue. The Government should not reject that suggestion because it was made by a member of the Opposition. It should be given urgent consideration. We must create an anti-drug culture in our society.
We need more treatment facilities. We do not have a treatment culture in our society. We have only two treatment centres in Cork in Arbour House and Tabor Lodge, both of which use the Hazelden drug free interventionist method of dealing with drug addiction and addiction generally. They question the methadone programme used in Dublin. I understand why it was introduced, but addiction is the core problem which ultimately must be treated and dealt with. We need more centres to treat addicts and the courts need to be in a position to refer addicts to such centres and, if necessary, to detain them for detoxification and treatment. We need radical and tough measures to deal with the overall problem. I plead with the Government to give this matter the priority it deserves in terms of education. We have had enough lip service and empty rhetoric, it is time for action.
I, too, pay tribute to Deputy O'Donnell for bringing this motion before the House and giving us an opportunity to contribute. There is no doubt the use and abuse of addictive substances is one of the most appalling problems facing society around the globe. Before addressing specific aspects of the problem and outlining the most promising initiative available for dealing with drug abuse, it would be useful to focus for a few minutes on the depths of despair and fear which are a routine part of daily life for the addict.
Those of us fortunate enough not be involved in any type of substance abuse have only a superficial insight into the sheer terror and desperation of the life of an addict. The majority of people are likely to have a range of routine cares and concerns and in certain cases such problems can cause profound distress and upset. Consider for a moment a drug addict's quality of life. As well as all the routine pressures of life, he or she has three further enormous and intimidating problems. The addict has largely lost control over his or her body and the craving for the next fix overrides every other need and duty. Addicts have the associated need to acquire a steady supply of drugs and the necessary funding must be secured to enable routine purchase of fresh supplies. In his contribution yesterday, Deputy O'Donoghue outlined in sobering detail the financial resources required to satisfy a serious drug addiction.
In my opening remarks I deliberately focused on the plight of the drug addict for two reasons. It is vital that we do not lose sight of the fact that first and foremost the individual case of drug addiction represents a personal tragedy and that the damage is not confined to the addict. It can cause suffering and distress to the addict's family, circle of friends and, in some cases, business colleagues. My second reason for focusing initially on the addict as a victim is that the overall position will rapidly deteriorate if we simply castigate drug abusers. We have a far greater chance of success if we focus on two simple core requirements. We must develop effective and comprehensive rehabilitation programmes for drug abusers. It is unacceptable that less than 7 per cent of Dublin's heroin addicts are receiving treatment. This is nothing short of insanity. This core problem must be tackled immediately on a massive scale.
If we combine the figure of 4,000 heroin addicts in Dublin with a daily cost of, say, £150 per person, the city's addicts must raise £600,000 each day simply to feed their habit. If this cost is extended to a full year the overall annual bill totals more than £200 million, much of which is derived either directly or indirectly from criminal activities. If we ignore the human suffering caused by drug abuse the simple economics of the position are obvious. There is a major financial incentive to rapidly develop and implement a comprehensive rehabilitation programme for drug abusers. Such an initiative must act as a vital cornerstone in any systematic State response to the current epidemic of drug abuse.
Substantial additional resources must be allocated to preventive programmes, especially in our educational institutions. If the figure of 4,000 heroin addicts in Dublin is accurate, it represents almost 1 per cent of the population between the ages of 15 and 44. The rate is probably much higher for those in their late teens or early 20s. While many have made substantial efforts to convey the appalling danger and misery of drug addiction to our school going population, their contributions have not been sufficient. It is crucial that every effort is made to develop, implement, monitor and modify, where necessary, comprehensive educational programmes to deflect our young people from the horror of drug abuse.
This programme must focus on two core realities. It must clearly convey that drug abuse is neither clever nor fashionable, but stupid and profoundly anti-social. Every effort must be made to strip away any element of glamour from drug abuse. Too often a maturing teenager is vulnerable to peer pressure. Whether one is dealing with drug abuse, alcohol abuse or sexual relationships, the unprepared young person is at an increased risk. We must do everything in our power to ensure every young person is aware that dabbling in drugs is a recipe for personal disaster.
As well as accepting the need for effective rehabilitation of drug addicts and the prime requirement for comprehensive and effective prevention-based programmes, it is vital to intensify the campaign against the suppliers of drugs. The fight against drug dealers is made particularly difficult by the fact that the drug trade is so lucrative. Consequently, the main drug barons can afford to employ "runners" to carry out the more risky aspects of their business while they oversee their evil trade from a distance.
Significant progress will be made against drug traders only if the resources allocated to combat their activities is radically increased. Extra Garda activity is required on the streets and at a strategic level and the penalties imposed on those convicted of drug related crimes must be increased. The motion before us contains a number of excellent proposals on which to base the future battle against illegal drug use in our society. Similarly, Deputy O'Donoghue's proposal for a national forum to combat drugs has great potential to make a substantial contribution to the fight against drug addiction.
Ultimately, the primary responsibility to plan and implement an all out war on drug abuse rests with the Minister for Justice and her Cabinet colleagues. While the Minister admitted the gravity and urgency of the current position, her lack of specific proposals to date has been extremely disappointing. If, for some reason, she is not in a position to introduce such proposals to meet the escalating problem of drug abuse, she has a moral obligation to accept the well thought out proposals of the Opposition parties.
I fervently hope the Minister will awake fully to the major challenge we face in dealing with drug abuse. We urgently need twin policies to effectively tackle the problem. On the one hand, we must make an all out effort to win the war against well organised and ruthless drug dealers and, on the other, ensure that all possible services are put in place to rehabilitate drug addicts and to prevent more vulnerable young people from falling into the clutches of this disastrous habit.
I thank my colleagues in Fianna Fáil for allocating some of their time to me. I am always reluctant to prepare a speech for Private Members' time because I do not know if I will be allowed one or ten minutes to contribute. I am glad to note I have been allocated a fair share of time tonight.
I compliment Deputy O'Donnell and her colleagues in the Progressive Democrats on a comprehensive motion which I am happy to support. I cannot support the Government amendment because it states that "the Government supports the measures taken by the Ministers for Health and Education in the area of education for young people and treatment of drug abusers". It is clear that in the areas I represent those measures have failed. The drug problem, particularly in regard to heroin, is spiralling out of control and anybody dealing with it, gardaí, people working in the treatment centres, community activists or people living in the areas affected by heroin, will say clearly and without fear of contradiction that the problem is getting worse. The measures taken by this and previous Governments have failed and will continue to fail unless the problem is given priority. It has been paid lip service for years in this House and we have been told that it was given top priority by various Ministers for Justice. However, there is no evidence that what is stated in this House is put into practice by the allocation of sufficient resources, either at a treatment or a Garda level, to deal adequately with the problem.
I want to refer briefly to some points made by the Minister. She stated that the drugs problem is the single greatest difficulty facing us. I reject that out of hand. The single greatest problem facing this country is social inequality and unemployment. Social inequality, unemployment and the various other problems that are created by mass unemployment feed the drug problem. They push young people into lives of despair and force them into using drugs like heroin. To suggest that the drug problem is the source of all our difficulties in society is incorrect. If we do not attempt to tackle the underlying social inequities in this country and target resources on areas of disadvantage, we will never solve the drug problem, regardless of what measures are taken. It would be instructive for anybody who disagrees to look at the areas where the use of heroin is concentrated. It is not concentrated in the affluent middle class areas of any part of the country, urban or rural; it is concentrated in the most disadvantaged urban communities, mainly in Dublin, and the Minister of State is aware of this.
I agree with the Minister that drug dealing has replaced terrorism. I hope the Garda resources used to fight terrorism will be transferred for use in the fight against drug pushers. It is only through harassment by the gardaí of those they know to be pushing drugs such as heroin that the message will be sent that it does no pay to be involved in drug pushing.
The Minister stated that drug units have been established in the city's five Garda divisions and that this approach has enabled the Central Drugs Squad to monitor the activities of drug dealers throughout the city. That is simply not true. Drug dealers in my area are not monitored, let alone drug dealers around the city. Depending on the resources available to a very dedicated drug unit which covers the north city of Dublin, two or three drug dealers, leading figures in this area are monitored. However, they are limited in the manpower available to them. Other drug dealers throughout the north city, and other areas, are bringing in heroin which is destroying communities, and the lives of young people in the process. The resources available to the gardaí are totally inadequate for monitoring the main heroin dealers in Dublin. My dealings with gardaí at a local level bear that out. I do not make any statements in this House that I cannot substantiate. It is not in my interest to do so.
I want to refer brifly to one of the main sections on which the Minister concentrated in her contribution, namely, seizing the pusher's assets. The Minister continually referred to the 1994 Act which, unfortunately, is largely confined to cases where proceedings have been instituted against persons for drug trafficking or where the courts are satisfied that proceedings are about to be instituted against persons for drug trafficking.
This is a key area and I hope the Minister will keep it in mind when she announces the measures she intends to take in this area. Dealers who are clever enough not to allow the gardaí to obtain evidence that will lead to them being charged are buying property, cars, going on foreign holidays and have accounts in banks containing large amounts of money. All this information is known to the gardaí but there is a lack of co-ordination between the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Social Welfare because most of these people continue to make a laughing stock of everybody by collecting their weekly social welfare payments.
An attempt should be made to co-ordinate the activities of the Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Social Welfare and the gardaí with a view to targeting these individuals, the majority of whom are known to the gardaí. If that happened it would deprive them of their profits but, unfortunately, it is not being done and I am not sure why. This solution has been put forward by me and other Deputies at various times over the past year or two and I do not believe it would be difficult to implement, but it must be done because these dealers are becoming more clever. They are using other people to do their dirty work. The minor people are being caught and the main dealers are making huge profits and getting away with their crimes.
The Minister referred to the Eastern Health Board drug co-ordinating committee. I find that intriguing because I am not aware of the existence of this body. I am aware of a body similar to the one mentioned by the Minister that has been set up by the Inner City Organisations Network and I wonder if the Minister is confusing what the local community in the north city centre has set up on its own initiative with an Eastern Health Board committee. It is nothing of that sort. The co-ordinating committee to which the Minister refers was established by the local community and activists in the north inner city. The Garda, the Department of Justice, the drug treatment centre, the education sector and voluntary agencies are involved in it. It is quite reprehensible of the Minister to claim that an arm of the State was responsible for establishing a body that was set up and is being run by local community activists.
Deputy Gregory has been critical and, in my opinion, too critical in parts of his contribution. I listened to him and I know the Minister will note the important points he made. He is entitled to be critical because he has shown his commitment to this problem. He is right in saying that we have paid lip-service to this problem for years. I am sorry that some of the other speakers lack the same credibility. I listened to Deputy Martin speak about tokenism and thought to myself what a nerve he has. It is wonderful how urgent these problems become now that Fianna Fáil is in Opposition.
We are talking about the same Minister for Education.
We did not hear speeches about tokenism and the awfulness of the problem when Fianna Fáil was in Government.
The Deputy's remarks lack the credibility of Deputy Gregory's remarks.
One could be excused for thinking that nothing has been happening and that we are not registering success in our battle against drugs. It is well to remind ourselves that the authorities have had considerable successes in recent times. In January there were two significant seizures of heroin in Dublin, one seizure involving 142 grammes and the second involving 80 grammes of the drug. In February there was one substantial seizure of 400 grammes of heroin in Dublin, an important seizure of over 5,000 estasy tablets in Limerick, a major cocaine find of 20 kilogrammes in Clare and an additional seizure of 1,000 grammes of amphetamines in Cork. In March there were two seizures of heroin in Dublin, one involving 82 grammes and the second involving 76 grammes and in addition, there were two major seizures of cannabis in Rosslare, one case involving 20 kilogrammes and a second case of five kilogrammes. In April there was the biggest seizure of heroin made so far this year, 493 grammes were seized in Dublin, there were five major ecstasy seizures and 50,000 tablets were seized in one operation in Dublin, 30,000 tablets were seized in Cork, 5,000 in Limerick and over 5,000 tablets were seized in a second operation in Dublin and over 2,600 were seized in a second operation in Cork. In addition there were two major seizures of cannabis, including the record seizure of 2,000 kilogrammes, in Dublin docks and 70 kilogrammes in Cork. In May we have had so far three major seizures of cannabis, 68 kilogrammes seized in the Rosslare-Wexford area, 380 kilogrammes were seized in Shannon and ten kilogrammes were seized at Dublin Airport last Sunday. That is a list of successful seizure since this Government took office. I am not suggesting that this is enough. Much more requires to be done and more will be done but do not let anyone doubt the determination and commitment of this Government to come to grips with this problem. The Minister for Justice has made her commitment clear and the Taoiseach has gone out of his way to emphasise his and the Government's commitment to tackling this problem in a fundamental way. I do not want anyone to try to detract from that commitment and determination.
The only advice I can give the Opposition in the circumstances is to await the comprehensive proposals which the Minister has promised will be ready shortly.
Sir, I propose to share my time with Deputies Keogh and O'Donnell.
Is that agreed? Agreed.
I am grateful for the opportunity to say a few word on this most important topic which my colleague, Deputy O'Donnell, has brought before this House. It is no exaggeration to say that the widepread drugs problem which afflicts us today and the closely associated problem of crime which it directly causes on such a broad scale throughout the country is a major national emergency, which we ignore at our peril. When this country was afflicted by serious subversion at various times, the special detective unit of the Garda Síochána which was built up through the country to counteract that subversion was quite successful, I am aware, as a former Minister for Justice, of the substantial resources that had to be devoted to countering subversion. I regard the problem of drug importation and distribution as no less harmful to our country and the whole of society than subversion ever was.
I too greatly welcome the recent seizures of large quantities of drugs by the Garda and the Customs, however we are told, and it may well be correct, that substantial as these seizures have been they may be only the tip of the iceberg and may represent not more than 10 per cent of the drugs coming in and being distributed here. We should look on these recent successful seizures not with any feeling of complacency, as we have just had from the Minister of State but as an indication of the vast volume of illegal narcotics to which our society is being exposed. It should encourage the Government and all of us to seek the diversion of more and more of the resources of the Garda, Customs and the Naval Service to tackling this problem. In the past we have sometimes tried to comfort ourselves by fostering the illusion that drugs are mainly imported and distributed by foreigners but recent finds of large quantities of drugs and associated money in the past week or so in Shannon and east County Limerick belie that belief. While the treatment of drug addicts individually and collectively is important and must be improved the real kernel of this problem lies with the importers and distributors. These people are the foulest beings in our society deserving, on conviction, exemplary punishment. They have hugely enriched themselves and continue to do so at the expense of the health and frequently of the lives of many of our young people.
This motion calls for stronger laws against such people and I believe the laws should reflect a minimum sentence of at least ten years for such an offence by an importer or by a pusher. Society would be better off if many of these people never walked in freedom on our streets again. The extent of their crime deserves such punishment. Frequently in the past 25 years we have expressed extreme outrage at many of the murderous atrocities carried out by the IRA and loyalist terrorists and have expressed the view that those who perpetrated them should never be released from prison. Is the moral culpability of drug pushers any less than that of the IRA or of other terrorists?
I am sorry to see the Government amendment drafted on traditionally complacent lines. It betokens no sense of urgency and should not be supported by a majority of Members in this House. An example of such complacency is the official condoning of the fact that half the inmates of Mountjoy Prison are using drugs while they are there. The introduction of those drugs could be stopped overnight. Instead their introduction into the prison is condoned and rather disgracefuly is seen as a method of keeping potentially disruptive prisoners under control. They are relatively calm because they are going around like zombies most of the time so heavily are they under the influence of drugs.
We have already heard in all too clear detail the awful horrors and evil perpetrated by drug pushers in our society. I emphasise the dangers to young people and how badly we need to co-ordinate efforts between the Department of Justice, Health and Education. The Minister of State has what might be described as the unenviable task of trying to co-ordinate services. It is passing the buck from Department to Deparment and he will find himself on a merry-go-round between the three of them. The Department of Education has not faced up to the problem and I was very disappointed with the response of the Minister for Justice when she spoke about education.
In the primary school system drug abuse should be dealt with in the stay safe programme, which should be mandatory at primary level. We need to give young children a sense of worth and self-value. Just as in the case of bullying they should feel free to seek help and reject advances made to them. We have not addressed the problem at secondary level. The Minister mentioned the post-primary substance abuse prevention programme "On my Two Feet" launched last October. It is being disseminated to post-primary schools at present which does not smack of any great sense of urgency on the part of the Minister for Education.
Deputy Gregory dealt with the problem of heroin addiction. There is substance abuse in all areas of society and not just in disadvantaged urban communities although the problem is worse there. The drug ecstasy is found in all walks of life. My constituency would be considered a middle class and perhaps well off one although that is not quite true. I have spoken to students in many schools and they tell me just how easy it is to get drugs. If you see a group of children gathered in an estate in the city your immediate suspicion should be that there are drugs available there. They are in school corridors in the city. That is an acknowledged fact and it is not just in the school corridors of urban disadvantaged communities. It is in every area of the city. My children go into town on a Saturday afternoon. If they go to Dún Laoghaire on a Saturday afternoon they know exactly who they can ask about drugs. Children have no difficulty obtaining drugs, from hash to ecstasy and heroin.
We must spell out the facts about drug abuse in graphic detail. I was discussing with school children recently the present media campaign on smoking. With no disrespect to the advertising agency, this is supposed to be a cool campaign and the children who do not smoke are the cool ones. The children said a similar campaign in regard to drug abuse might be very good but will not work because they need to be told the effects of drug abuse, the dangers of HIV from sharing needles and to be told explicitly that they can die. I do not say that out of my wisdom but from talking to young people who know about it. We can talk about youth groups, the adults who led them, experts and so on but the real experts are the youngsters. Drugs are freely available to them every single day. I want children to be more wary. I want the Minister for Education to be proactive and to have a greater sense of urgency about what is being done. It is not good enough for any Minister to be passive.
I thank Deputies who contributed to the debate which our motion facilitated. If the House were a House of representatives with clout and courage, Deputies who compared the Government amendment with our motion could not vote down our motion because it is a list of achieveable measures which could be taken by the Government.
The Government motion reflects a lack of urgency, inertia, complacency and failure to respond to the debate in a strategic and positive way. This is not a matter of Opposition politics. There is consensus that our drugs problem constitute an emergency. We have lifted the state of emergency in relation to terrorist violence but it has been replaced with the drugs emergency.
I listened to contributions last night but all we had from the Government was procrastination: "the matter is being considered; I will bring forward proposals to Government shortly; we are happy with the resources at present being allocated to this emergency." Basically it was a masterpiece of mañana from beginning to end. In some cases the Minister's speech was technically incorrect, as Deputy Gregory pointed out in relation to resources in terms of specialist people in the drugs squad. I spoke to members of the drugs squad and there is a palpable sense of despondency among the squad that they do not have adequate resources. One unit has been operating without a detective sergeant for the last year. It is a disaster. None of these issues was responded to. I hoped to hear a realistic response from the Minister last night.
I raised sections 23 and 24 of the 1994 Act which allows the High Court to restrain the assets of people being investigated for drug trafficking. This power was passed by the House after much debate and vested in the Director of Public Prosecutions. Only two orders have been made to restrain such assets. We do not know how successful those applications were. The Minister said she has no role in what the Director of Public Prosecutions does — more wringing of hands and abdication of responsibility.
From the time the Minister took office I cannot point to one substantive measure which she introduced or passed in the House. She announced there would be constitutional reform of bail law but that has since been retracted as a result of the bleating of the Labour Party. The Minister said there is a range of policies which she will shortly bring before Government but we have powers, under legislation passed in the House, to take action. I outlined some of those last evening. The Garda have enormous powers to search and seize under the Animal Remedies Act, 1993 for instance, but existing powers are not being used. The Minister is full of bluster, procrastination and waffle. The Government is marked. It is a Government of charters, task forces, review groups, extra committees which we do not need and superfluous Ministries. It is all sizzle and no sausage. It is a Government which is spin doctored to the point of distraction. If it had something substantial to say or do or real action to take which would make a difference there would be no need for the expensive plethora of spin doctors it employs. The Taoiseach said he intends to raise the drugs problem at the next intergovernmental conference.
Why has he not indicated he would raise it at next week's Cabinet meeting? His attitude is indicative of the urgency the Government attaches to this problem. It is disgraceful that despite all-party consensus on the issue the Government has abjectly failed to take the necessary urgent action.
- Ahearn, Theresa.
- Barrett, Seán.
- Bell, Michael.
- Bhamjee, Moosajee.
- Boylan, Andrew.
- Bradford, Paul.
- Bhreathnach, Niamh.
- Bree, Declan.
- Broughan, Tommy.
- Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
- Bruton, Richard.
- Burke, Liam.
- Burton, Joan.
- Byrne, Eric.
- Carey, Donal.
- Connaughton, Paul.
- Connor, John.
- Costello, Joe.
- Coveney, Hugh. Crawford, Seymour.
- Creed, Michael.
- Crowley, Frank.
- Currie, Austin.
- Deasy, Austin.
- Deenihan, Jimmy.
- De Rossa, Proinsias.
- Dukes, Alan M.
- Durkan, Bernard J.
- Ferris, Michael.
- Finucane, Michael.
- Fitzgerald, Brian.
- Fitzgerald, Eithne.
- Fitzgerald, Frances.
- Flaherty, Mary.
- Flanagan, Charles.
- Gallagher, Pat.
- Gilmore, Eamon.
- Harte, Paddy.
- Higgins, Jim.
- Hogan, Philip.
- Howlin, Brendan.
- Kavanagh, Liam.
- Kemmy, Jim.
- Kenny, Enda.
- Kenny, Seán.
- Lynch, Kathleen.
- McCormack, Pádraic.
- McDowell, Derek.
- McGahon, Brendan.
- McGinley, Dinny.
- McGrath, Paul.
- McManus, Liz.
- Mitchell, Jim.
- Mulvihill, John.
- Nealon, Ted.
- Noonan, Michael (Limerick East).
- O'Keeffe, Jim.
- O'Shea, Brian.
- O'Sullivan, Toddy.
- Owen, Nora.
- Penrose, William.
- Quinn, Ruairí.
- Ring, Michael.
- Ryan, John.
- Ryan, Seán.
- Shatter, Alan.
- Sheehan, P.J.
- Shortall, Róisín.
- Stagg, Emmet.
- Timmins, Godfrey.
- Upton, Pat.
- Walsh, Eamon.
- Yates, Ivan.
- Ahern, Dermot.
- Ahern, Michael.
- Ahern, Noel.
- Blaney, Neil T.
- Brennan, Matt.
- Browne, John (Wexford).
- Burke, Raphael P.
- Byrne, Hugh.
- Callely, Ivor.
- Clohessy, Peadar.
- Connolly, Ger.
- Gregory, Tony.
- Harney, Mary.
- Haughey, Seán.
- Jacob, Joe.
- Kenneally, Brendan.
- Keogh, Helen.
- Killeen, Tony.
- Kirk, Séamus.
- Kitt, Michael P.
- Kitt, Tom.
- Lawlor, Liam.
- Leonard, Jimmy.
- Martin, Micheál.
- McCreevy, Charlie.
- McDaid, James.
- McDowell, Michael.
- Moffatt, Tom.
- Morley, P.J.
- Moynihan, Donal.
- Nolan, M.J.
- Coughlan, Mary.
- Cullen, Martin.
- Davern, Noel.
- de Valera, Síle.
- Doherty, Seán.
- Ellis, John.
- Fitzgerald, Liam.
- Flood, Chris.
- Foley, Denis.
- Foxe, Tom.
- Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
- Noonan, Michael (Limerick West).
- O'Dea, Willie.
- O'Donnell, Liz.
- O'Donoghue, John.
- O'Hanlon, Rory.
- O'Keeffe, Batt.
- O'Leary, John.
- O'Malley, Desmond J.
- O'Rourke, Mary.
- Power, Seán.
- Quill, Máirín.
- Ryan, Eoin.
- Sargent, Trevor.
- Smith, Brendan.
- Smith, Michael.
- Treacy, Noel.
- Wallace, Dan.
- Wallace, Mary.
- Walsh, Joe.
- Woods, Michael.