[Sinn Fein]

30 September 1996

Sinn Fein refutes drugs infiltration claim

Sinn Fein Vice President Pat Doherty has rejected claims made in a number of newspapers over the weekend that the Party is controlling the anti-drugs movement in Dublin.

Speaking in advance of the Local Government Against Drugs conference in Donegal this weekend Mr. Doherty said:

``The protests taking place against the scourage of drugs have been a spontaneous community based response to a chronic problem which the governement and its agencies have ignored for so long. They are not Sinn Fein led or directed. Sinn Fein members who live and work in these communities are of course involved in Anti-Drugs campaigns just as they are involved in unemployment groups, housing groups and many other community based organisations.

``Sinn Fein's stance on drugs is well documented. We believe that any approach to tackling the drugs problem must involve treatment for addicts if it is to have any hope of success. Local people and local knowledge must be deployed in tackling the problem. We support the establishment of Local Community Drugs teams linked to small local drug treatment clinics. The Drugs teams, involving local GPs, social workers, voluntary and community agencies, should have strong community representation including locally-recruited community workers, making the keeping contact with local drug users and their families.

``Local clinics, their location, staffing and services must be set up with full and open consultation with local communities who have to be given a real say in decisions.

``Rather than attempting to undermine the work of local communities the Government and its agencies including the Gardaí should be actively cooperating with these communities in the fight against drugs. The suggestion that the Anti-drugs Movement is republican led or infiltrated is an unwelcome distraction from the serious work that needs to be done.''

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