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Written Answers. - Drug Courts.

Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 559 No. 6

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[1599]

 230. Mr. O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell  if the drug court will be extended into local drugs task force areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24539/02]

 232. Mr. O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell  if he supports the view that the pilot drug court service be extended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24534/02]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell I propose to take Questions Nos. 230 and 232 together.

A drug court planning committee was established in early 1999 to develop an integrated cross service strategic plan involving court supervised treatment programmes as an alternative to custodial sentences. The committee, inter alia, recommended the establishment of a pilot drug court.

The pilot drug court programme, which was confined to Dublin's north inner city, was launched by the Courts Service in the Dublin District Court on 9 January 2001 for a period of 18 months. The first sitting took place on 16 January 2001.

The pilot programme was evaluated by expert consultants who have reported to the Courts Service Board on the operation of the pilot scheme. The board has recently forwarded the report and its recommendations to me. I am looking at the question of how best to take the matter forward, including the merit of extending the drug court programme to other locations, including other areas of Dublin.


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