Casual drug use is helping to “line the pockets” of those who engage in “murder, assault” and “criminality,” according to acting Justice Minister Simon Harris.
The remarks were made in the Dáil today, as Harris raised the issue of drug taking “as part of a night out” in Ireland.
Strong words from the Minister for Justice @SimonHarrisTD in Dáil this morning, about casual drug use being a source of funding for gangland crime.
He says people can’t take a pill or snort a line at weekends, and then condemn the actions of organised crime gangs in the midweek pic.twitter.com/PZg157rfA1
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) February 16, 2023
“I’m very concerned about the growing social acceptance of drug taking in this country,” he said.
“And let me be clear; I’m not talking about people with drug addiction. I’m not talking about the pain and the hurt of that. We need to support people in overcoming addiction. They need our help, not stigma. They need a health-led approach.
“But there’s another type of drug use we’ve got to start talking about in this country – calling it out and talking about it clearly. And what I’m talking about is the increasing prevalence, and often visibility of drug taking as part of a night out in Ireland.”
Harris said that conversations about drug use “cannot ignore” the “reality” that consuming illegal drug products helps to fund criminal enterprises.
“There is a direct link between snorting a line, or taking a pill, and murder, assault, criminality, and misery,” he said.
“Drug use, on a Friday or Saturday night, is funding and supporting violence, crime and murders the next week. You’re helping to line the pockets of criminals, who are inflicting misery and pain in communities across our country.”
He added: “We need to get real about this – drug use is not victimless, far from it.”
Harris added that he was in the process of speaking to Gardaí about tackling the issue.