From top: Garrett Sheehan, chairman of the The Working Group to Consider Alternative Approaches to the Possession of Drugs for Personal Us; At the announcement this morning of a ‘health-led’ approach to the possession of drugs for personal use were, from left Minister for Health, Simon Harris; Minister of State with responsibility for Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne TD; and Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan
First and second time drug offenders will escape criminal conviction for possession
However, the recommendation to remove imprisonment for all drug possession cases as recommended by a special working group, has been rejected. by the government.
The Working Group to Consider Alternative Approaches to the Possession of Drugs for Personal Use was meant to report at the end of last year but there was disagreement among its membership which included representatives of the departments of Health and Justice, An Garda Síochána, the Probation Service, the DPP, HSE, Health Research Board, as well as two people with experience of drugs.
The working group recommended that there should not be an option to imprison someone caught for possession of drugs and offered a system of multiple adult cautions along with diversions to treatment as alternative options.
However, the chairman of the working group, former judge and criminal defence solicitor Garrett Sheehan, issued a minority report saying any moves towards decriminalisation would be “throwing in the towel” on the potential of young people.
He advocated instead an education campaign to make drug taking just as socially unacceptable as smoking in public places….
New policy to cover first, second time drug offenders (RTÉ)