Voluntary Assistance Scheme Presents Draft Legislation To Ana Liffey Drug Project

20 May 2015

Bar Council of Ireland’s Voluntary Assistance Scheme presents draft legislation for introduction of medically supervised injection units to Minister Ó Ríordáin and Ana Liffey Project

Legislation highlights the Pro Bono work of The Bar

Press Release: May 20, 2015: Draft legislation for the introduction of medically supervised injection units was presented to the Minister of State with the responsibility for Drugs Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD today by the Bar Council of Ireland’s pro bono programme, the Voluntary Assistance Scheme (VAS).

A legislative drafting committee chaired by Senior Counsel Emily Egan has been working with the Ana Liffey Drug Project since June 2014 developing the draft legislation.

Legal professionals working pro bono under the VAS scheme provide legal counsel to charities, NGOs and civic society organisations who might not otherwise have the means to avail of professional legal services.

Tony Duffin, Director, Ana Liffey Project  said that it is hoped that the draft legislation presented to the Minister for Drugs today will enable him to move forward with an initiative which will provide much needed support for some of the most vulnerable members of society;

“The Ana Liffey Project has been working with individuals who are experiencing problem substance use since 1982. We are ideally positioned to advise and inform legislation on issues surrounding drug abuse but as a registered charity our ability to commission the services of legal professionals is limited,” explained Mr Duffin.

VAS Co-ordinator Diane Duggan BL said “Central to the work of the Bar Council’s Voluntary Assistance Scheme is the absolute belief that every voice should be heard.  Ana Liffey is but one example of a project in which the scheme has assisted- the scheme strives to empower organisations to make a difference through the law”. “The legislation has been drafted by a committee of seven experienced legal professionals who have expertise in legislative drafting, medico-legal issues and criminal law and the Minister can be confident that it has been subject to rigorous scrutiny,” she said.

The Ana Liffey project says medically supervised injection centres are already used in more than 90 countries around the world, and have been proven to assist in the reduction of crime, anti-social behaviour and public injecting.

Other charities that the Voluntary Assistance Scheme has worked with recently include IPRT, Vincent de Paul, Irish Traveller Movement, Northside Community Law and Mediation, Merchants Quay, Dublin Aids Alliance and FLAC.

Also involved in committee that drafted the legislation for the Ana Liffey Project were Bernard Condon SC, Marcus Keane BL, Rebecca Broderick BL, Rebecca Graydon BL and Brendan Savage BL.


For more information contact:
Shirley Coulter Director Communications & Policy Bar Council +353 817 5116

Notes to Editor:
Legal assistance provided through the Voluntary Assistance Scheme (VAS) of the Bar Council of Ireland is exclusively to enable access to justice for charities, NGOs and civic society groups and an agreement to assist an organisation does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the Bar Council of Ireland of the organisation receiving legal assistance and/or of the subject of the assistance.