The Council of TCDSU voted tonight in favour of the Union adopting a formal stance in favour of decriminalisation of drugs. The first meeting of the Union’s Council, which took place this evening in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI) on Pearse St.
The motion was proposed by Robert Keogh, Chair of the Union’s Drug Policy Lobby Group. Keogh outlined the implications of the policy, which would see the SU taking a “public health approach” to the issue. He said that he was shocked when beginning his work with the Lobby Group that the Union had no stance one way or the other on the issue of decriminalisation, and that a mandate from Council would greatly aid the Group’s work. He noted also that a USI report has already recommended such a stance, and that at a time when national drug policy was being considered and formulated, “I want our voices to be heard on a national level”.
Keogh said that a vote would mandate TCDSU to support a policy similar to that adopted already in Portugal, where possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use has been decriminalised since 2001. He referred also to policy in the Netherlands, where a similar policy has been instituted, with drug analysis centres allowing drug use to be safer and more hygienic. Decriminalisation “ensures a safer society” he said.
A small number of questions came from students. One asked whether other SUs have already adopted a similar stance (USI have, though Keogh was unsure about individual college SUs). In response to a question regarding whether or not the stance would be in favour of decriminalising “all drugs”, Welfare and Equality Officer Aoibhin Loughlin urged people to look up the Portugese policy to get a sense of what was being advocated.
After being put to a vote, the motion was easily carried.