The Citizens’ Assembly on Drug Use is taking submissions from the public until 30th June 2023. Every submission is shared with members of the assembly, and you can add yours here. Below is mine.

I am writing as a councillor, elected to represent Dublin’s South West Inner City.

The current model of drug criminalisation has ruined so many lives in our area, given huge resources to violent gangs, and made whole areas feel unsafe. We see needles dumped on the street, young people roped into dealing, and overdosing has become a regular occurrence.

I know that decriminalisation or legalisation (or somewhere in between) won’t end the problem of drug addiction, but I believe it must improve things for areas like the one I represent. It could break the financing of the gangs, and allow us to bring some humanity to the people and communities suffering due to drug addiction.

The current criminalisation model hasn’t worked – in Ireland or elsewhere. I don’t think anyone can speak with absolute certainty about what the perfect solution is: but I’d ask you to consider moving away from our current model – it’s broken, and it has left communities broken too.