Citizens’ assembly on drug use pushed to 2023

Citizens' assembly on drug use pushed to 2023

The citizens’ assembly on drug use has been pushed back until early 2023, the government has announced.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin told the Dáil last month that the citizens’ assembly, which some hope will pave a way to drug decriminalisation in Ireland, would take place in “the latter part of this year”.

However, the Department of the Taoiseach has now clarified that it will commence in early 2023, following the conclusion of the contemporaneous citizens’ assemblies on biodiversity loss and on a directly elected Dublin mayor.

Frank Feighan, the minister of state for public health, wellbeing and the national drugs strategy, said: “I acknowledge there is some disappointment that it is not possible to commence this citizens assembly in 2022.

“However, I intend to commence preparations for the citizens assembly on drug use now, so that there will be no delay in establishing the citizens assembly at the start of 2023 and submitting its report in quarter 4, 2023. This will allow a period of over one year for the government to consider its recommendations.”

He added: “I am very positive about the potential contribution of the citizens assembly to the government’s health-led response to drug use. Drug use affects all members of society, whether directly or indirectly, and imposes very significant social and financial costs. Involving citizens in decision-making on drugs policy is therefore appropriate.”

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