'Future bleak' if alcohol link to sport not tackled
on 24/10/2013 00:00:00
Activists met in Dublin yesterday to launch of a campaign to push the drugs issue on the Government's agenda. Afterwards, representatives met drugs strategy minister Alex White.
Fergus McCabe, a Citywide veteran, was a member of the Government's National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group, which after three years of discussions, published a report in Feb 2012. Twenty months on, the Government is publishing its alcohol action plan today.
"We spent years, three years, working on this," Mr McCabe said. "Four to five previous reports all made recommendations pretty much the same.
"If this Government is really serious, it can't do 'Yes Minister' report after report, because that what's happened. We have been told to be patient. We have been patient but that has to go. This needs action and leadership.
"If the Government does not have the guts to take on vested interests of alcohol and sports industries, children have a very bleak future."
Chairwoman of Citywide Anna Quigley said community drug projects can not take any more cuts; the latest 7% cut amounts to a total loss of close to 40% since 2008.
She said it is ironic that Love/Hate is the country's most popular TV programme, showing "part of the impact" drugs have on communities. "People are riveted by it, but at the same time official Ireland do not want to know," she said.
Tony Geoghegan of Merchant's Quay said compounding the problem is the absence of a "functioning national structure" through which voluntary and community groups could bring their concerns to Government and action taken.