Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher TD has responded to Minister Leo Varadkar’s defence of the Government’s failure on drug abuse.  He has also called on the Taoiseach to confirm whether or not he will be restoring the position of Drugs Minister.

Deputy Kelleher commented, “Another Wednesday and another lengthy RTÉ Morning Ireland interview with Leo Varadkar talking about the problems in the health system without really saying anything about what he’s going to do to fix them.

“This morning, we were treated to the Minister’s musings on what a great job he is doing to tackle the drugs crisis in this country.  His description of what is happening will not be recognised by anyone with any knowledge of what is actually happening on our streets and in our drug rehabilitation facilities.  The Minister is in denial on the scale of the problem in our country.

“The Minister’s detachment from what is happening was colourfully illustrated by the fact that he was taken by surprise by claims that a new Junior Minister with responsibility for drugs policy is about to be appointed.  Our hope is that the claims are true, and I would call on the Taoiseach to quickly clarify the matter.  But it says something about Leo Varadkar’s engagement with the drugs issue that a ministerial appointment in his area of responsibility could be imminent and he knows nothing about it.

“The decision to roll back a decade of Fianna Fáil policy and abolish the role of Drugs Minister was a terrible development.  It has left a critical area of public policy with no leadership and has set the entire area back by years.  It was a stupid decision and my party has been campaigning to have it reversed.  I hope the Taoiseach will confirm a reversal today.  And I hope someone will tell the Minister who is supposed to be in charge.”