Anyone who listened to Tommy Meskill's interview with Johnny Downey on "Morning Ireland" this morning will have been very moved. Jack Downey, Johnny's son, was 19. He was an accounting student. His father said he loved GAA and he loved life. He was not a drug taker; indeed, his father said he would not even take an Anadin. One day last August he left home at 10.30 a.m. and at 9 p.m. Johnny and Elaine received a phone call that Jack had been admitted to Cork University Hospital.
When Jack was leaving that morning, his father told him to be careful and he responded, "Ah sure, I was there last year. I'll be fine." It was only his second concert. He made one mistake and the consequences were absolutely catastrophic. His death has had a profound effect on his family and his community. Johnny spoke this morning about something we need to ask people to do this Christmas: parents need have the conversation about drugs with their teenage children. I know it will be a very difficult conversation for some parents to have. It would be much more difficult to get the phone call that Johnny and Elaine got on that Friday evening about their beloved Jack.
Taking a chance cost Jack his life. What Johnny and Elaine want - what we all want - is that there be no more Jacks and that nobody else has to walk the walk that they are walking at the moment. It must have taken enormous courage for Johnny to do that interview with Tommy Meskill this morning. He is not looking for attention or glory; he just wants parents to have that conversation. It has never been as important to have that conversation.
Health Research Board, HRB, figures for drug-related deaths in Ireland in 2017 show that more than one person a day is dying related to drugs. Deputy Curran has highlighted this issue for many years and the position is getting worse. The availability and potency of drugs is getting worse. It is no longer just a city issue; it is in every community. The Government is not responding and there is legislative inaction.
Would the Tánaiste agree that we need to review the licensing of concerts to ensure that those who promote concerts are made to take responsibility for illegal drug availability at those concerts, just as they must take responsibility for security and alcohol? Is it not time to clamp down on drug availability at concerts?
Given those HRB figures, the increasing availability of drugs in our communities and the involvement of children as young as ten selling drugs, is the Government losing the fight against drugs?