[Sinn Fein]

22nd January 1999

Seán Crowe answers Walsh attack on anti-drugs work

Sinn Fein representative for Dublin South-West, Seán Crowe, has reacted angrily to Labour Party Councillor Eamonn Walsh's attack on the party's involvement in the anti-drugs campaign.

Seán,who is standing for Sinn Fein in June's EU elections, said:

``Eamonn Walsh seems more concerned with chasing headlines than tackling the growing drugs problem in this city.''

``Sinn Fein has worked with local communities, with addicts and with state agencies. We have wholeheartedly endorsed the Government's partnership approach with communities to tackling the drugs problem.

``Our record in standing up to the drug dealers is second to none. We have been to the forefront in applying political pressure to the Government and its agencies to secure facilities for addicts and education for young people. As a political party we have for nearly 20 years worked with communities that have been devastated by the growing drug problem, communities that were consistently ignored by all the establishment parties. We have worked for a response that is political, economic and social.

``Like many Sinn Fein party colleagues and neighbours in Tallaght, I was on the first anti-drugs march in Dublin's Hardwicke Street Flats in the 1980s. Since that time Sinn Fein has supported and worked with communities throughout Dublin in tackling the spread of drugs like heroin. Other parties have been conspicious by their absence.

``And, throughout recent years, I have stood with people in all weathers, in areas like Fettercairn, Cushlawn, Killinarden, Knockmore, Glenshane and throughout Tallaght West as they staffed huts outside the houses of known drug dealers.

``It is ironic that Eamon Walsh is the same person who is on public record as saying that the solution to the anti-social problems in the Avonbeg Flats complex in Tallaght was `putting in able-bodied men to sort them out'.

``Sinn Fein are proud of our work against drugs and our long standing involvement with local communities on this issue. Elected representatives and public figures - including Eamon Walsh - should be working together to find a long-term solution to this problem. They should not be attacking parties and the courageous individuals who have led the fightback against the spread of drugs.''

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