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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Press Release - Launch of two new Reports by the Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs

Cecilia Keaveney T.D., Chairperson, Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs today, 27th March 2007, launched her Committee’s Twelfth and Thirteenth Reports –

"Drug Abuse in Ireland – A Waterford Perspective" and "The Relationship Between Alcohol Misuse and the Drinks Industry Sponsorship of Sporting Activities".

Deputy Keaveney paid tribute to Deputy Brian O’Shea and Deputy James Breen who were charged with the task of doing the basic research for the two Reports.

With regard to the drug abuse in Waterford report Deputy Keaveney pointed out that the Joint Committee had done a lot of work on the subject of drug abuse at a national level but this latest Report shows how serious the problem is outside the capital and the case histories in it demonstrate how grubby and grimy and often fatal the drugs trade is. A series of recommendations are made including enabling the Criminal Assets Bureau to seize pubs and clubs where drugs are traded and consumed. There is also a proposal to separate the methadone clinics for those who are drug free from those provided for continuing abusers.

The Joint Committee also strongly recommends the proper funding of the Mental Health Services which deal with much of the fall-out from both drug and alcohol abuse. Deputy Keaveney made the point that if we can spend some €700 million on sporting facilities surely we can provide services in an area such as mental health which can affect as many as 1 in 4 of our population.

The Report on the relationship between alcohol misuse and the drinks industry sponsorship of sporting activities shows the upward curve in alcohol consumption parallel to the rise of sponsorship of sport.

Deputy Keaveney concedes that this is yet another report highlighting alcohol abuse to add to the many previous studies and asks the question as to when we as a nation will come to accept that we are in a national collective state of denial when it comes to alcohol and this is why the principal recommendation of the Report calls on the Government to acknowledge the extent of the problem of alcohol abuse in the country and the underlying role that the sponsorship and promotion of alcohol plays in it or have we reached a position where regular alcohol consumption by teenagers is almost regarded as being the norm?

Further information:

Deputy Cecilia Keaveney
Ph: 01 6183552
Ph: 074 9385618

Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas, Leinster House, Dublin 2. Ph: + 353 1 618 3000