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Written Answers. - Drugs Task Forces.

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 4

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 104. Mr. Rabbitte Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  when the promised regional drugs task forces will be set up; the way in which the membership will be selected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24469/02]

Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Éamon Ó Cuív): Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív Under the national drugs strategy 2001-2008, it is proposed to set up regional drugs task forces or RDTFs in the ten health board regions throughout the country. The present position regarding their establishment is that nominations have been sought from the various sectors involved, including statutory, community and voluntary areas. The national drugs strategy team has prepared guidelines for their operation in consultation the relevant sectors and agencies.

Regarding the membership, it is proposed that the membership of the RDTFs will, where appropriate, include representation from the following sectors-agencies: area-based partnerships, community sector, Department of Education and Science, the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs, FÁS, the Garda Síochána, the health boards, local Authorities, the probation and welfare service, public representatives, the Revenue Commissioners customs and excise division, the VEC and the voluntary sector.

In relation to representatives of the statutory sector, it is proposed that each Department-agency will nominate one representative to the RDTF. The representatives should hold senior positions within their organisations, so that they can effectively participate in the work of the RDTF.

It is proposed that the community fora, which nominate members to the social inclusion groups of the city-county development boards, should have responsibility for the nomination process in relation to the community representatives. The nomination process must take account of the need for a broad based consultation with community groups who are interested and-or involved in the drugs issue. In relation to voluntary members, voluntary networks have been set up in nearly all RDTF areas. These networks will nominate the voluntary representatives to the RDTF.

It is recommended that up to four public representatives be nominated to the RDTF. As with the LDTFs, the local authorities in each RDTF region will be the nominating bodies. The number of representatives to be nominated by each authority will be agreed locally, having regard to the number of local authorities involved and the limit [995] on the overall number of public representatives, four, that can be nominated to the RDTF.

Finally it is proposed that the area partnerships in the region should nominate one representative to the RDTFs. The nomination will be agreed between the partnerships themselves, having regard to the extent of the drug problem in the areas they represent. It is planned to hold the first meetings of the RDTFs early in 2003.

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