Justice committee asked to consider drug decriminalisation

Fr Peter McVerry
Fr Peter McVerry

The Oireachtas justice committee has received at least 50 submissions to its consultation on drug decriminalisation, according to The Irish Times.

Fr Peter McVerry is among those who have penned a written submission calling for the introduction in Ireland of Portugal’s model of drug decriminalisation, which sees addiction treated as a public health problem instead of a crime.

In his submission, Fr McVerry wrote that the “war on drugs has long been lost”.

He adds: “The enormous cost of arresting and prosecuting people for possession of drugs for personal use over the past 30 to 40 years has been a total waste of money.”

He concludes by backing Portugal’s system, stating that Ireland should ” drug consumption as a public health problem, not a criminal issue”.

David Stanton, chair of the justice committee, has said the idea will be approached with an “open mind”.

An Irish delegation travelled to Portugal in June to collect evidence on the country’s drug policies and their impact.

The justice committee is expected to issue a final report by the end of October.

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