GAA hero Philly McMahon joins advisory group for Citizens’ Assembly on drug use

The advisory group was announced today by former HSE boss Paul Reid will hold its first meetings next month.

Former Dublin footballer Philly McMahon. Photo: Frank McGrath

Dublin footballer Philly McMahon

Eilish O'ReganIndependent.ie

Dublin GAA hero Philly McMahon has been appointed to the advisory support group to the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use.

The former Dublin football star, whose brother John died in 2012 after a long battle with drug addiction, has since become a strong anti-drugs advocate.

The advisory group was announced today by former HSE boss Paul Reid, who will chair the new assembly which holds its first meetings next month and will examine issues such as the legalisation of certain drugs and the provision of safe injecting centres.

It’s aim is to examine “legislative, policy and operational changes the State could make to significantly reduce the harmful impacts of illicit drugs on individuals, families, communities and wider society”.

Mr Reid described the advisory group as an “experienced and diverse group of people to support the important work of the assembly”.

“The advisory support group has a key role in supporting the Citizens’ Assembly in developing a comprehensive work programme, in line with the assembly’s terms of reference,” he said.

The members of the advisory support group include:

Jo-Hanna Ivers, Associate Professor in Addictions, School of Medicine, and Associate Dean of Civic Engagement & Social Innovation, Trinity College Dublin

Philly McMahon, advocate for people affected by drugs use

Mary Cannon, Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Youth Mental Health, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences and consultant psychiatrist, Beaumont Hospital.

Joe O’Neill, Chair of the Western Region Drugs and Alcohol Task Force

Ann Ryan, Retired Judge of the District Court

Brian Galvin, Programme Manager for Drug and Alcohol Research, Health Research Board

John Garry, Professor of Political Behaviour and lead at The Democracy Unit, Queen's University Belfast

The terms of reference for the advisory support group identify the group’s role as supporting the chair of the assembly in developing a fair, balanced and comprehensive work programme.

Members will offer suggestions and feedback on the design of a draft programme, and identify options for specialists, experts, stakeholder groups and others to appear before the assembly.

Dublin footballer Philly McMahon

It will be a matter for the chair and members of the assembly to determine the final work programme.

A spokeswoman said that where possible they will attend the meetings of the assembly and their role will be to observe proceedings and reflect on how the material being presented is received by members.

They will consider how best to incorporate feedback from roundtable discussions and post-meeting evaluations into programme design for subsequent meetings.

Where appropriate, and at the discretion of the chair they will clarification on questions from the members, with answers being provided either in plenary session or in documentation.

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