Press Release

Merchants Quay Ireland backs decriminalisation of drugs for personal use

Merchants Quay Ireland backs decriminalisation of drugs for personal use

Leading homeless and drug services charity Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) has today called for a new approach to personal possession of illegal drugs.

Responding to the Government’s consultation on alternative approaches to possession of illegal drugs for personal use, the charity says that the current approach is failing those in addiction, and that a new, pragmatic, health-led response is needed.

Speaking about the consultation, Merchants Quay Ireland CEO Tony Geoghegan said:

“Decades of criminalisation have pushed people with serious addiction issues into the margins of society, acting as a barrier to treatment.

“In Ireland, we have a profound drugs crisis, one that needs pragmatic, evidence-led responses. A move away from criminal penalties for personal possession of illegal drugs can be one part of that. People in addiction should be receiving treatment, not a prison sentence.

“Decriminalisation on its own will not solve this problem. The Government will need to step up to the plate by increasing investment in harm reduction measures, detox and rehabilitation programmes, and supported accommodation for people coming out of treatment. Only then will we have a truly health-led response to addiction”.


For more information or to arrange an interview with our spokesperson, Tony Geoghegan, please contact:


Andrew Rooney

086 779 3208 or e-mail

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