Sinn Féin spokesperson on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing has today called on Minister for State Frank Feighan to address serious concerns within the addiction and recovery sector.
His comments come in response to the Minister’s appearance at the Oireachtas Health Committee.
Teachta Gould said:
“The Minister should be well aware of the current issues that exist with the proposed changes to the National Oversight Committee. But he could not confirm that all community and voluntary networks will retain their place on the Oversight Committee for the duration of the current phase of the National Drugs Network. Instead, after continued questioning, he agreed that this was his plan.
“In terms of addiction nurses, there has been a worrying level of disrespect shown to these clinical experts. They were removed from the NOC without any consultation, reason or notice.
“They were then forced to go public to get an answer from the Minister and found out about a meeting they were invited to with himself via a newspaper the Minister gave comment to.
“While the Minister agreed that there were communication issues, he could not give any reasoning behind the removal of Addiction Nurses from the NOC. He has agreed his intention to reinvite this group to the Committee, but there are serious questions about the process of this.
“There were real concerns today raised about drug and alcohol issues in Tallaght, about the treatment of the North East Inner City DATF, the closure of residential addiction treatment beds, the closure of Keltoi, the failure to complete the last phase of the National Drugs Strategy and the need for movement on the Health Diversion Approach.
“The Minister did not have a clear answer to these questions. He could not explain why his Budget was only one tenth of the budget proposed by Sinn Féin and failed to offer any reasoning behind crucial decisions being made by his office.
“I will be seeking to meet Minister Feighan in the coming weeks because today raised more questions than answers. It is time for this government to get serious – let’s resource recovery and tackle addiction.”