A symposium on drug policy and participatory democracy, occurring at a crucial time as Ireland conducts its Citizen Assembly on drugs, is being hosted by the School of Health Sciences at South East Technological University (SETU) on Friday, 23 June.

The event, hosted by SETU President Professor Veronica Campbell and Professor John Wells, Dean of the School of Health Sciences, aims to explore the role of participatory democracy in shaping drug policies. Key stakeholders in the south east region will be in attendance. 

The symposium will focus on how to develop a democratic consensus on the complex topic of drug policy reform. Keynote speakers include Professor Geoff Gallop, former Premier of Western Australia and Dr Ingrid van Beek, both of whom are internationally recognised experts on participatory democracy, law reform and service delivery in the area of drugs policy.  

Professor Gallop and Dr Van Beek are visiting professors at the SETU’s School of Health Sciences, and this will be the first time that they will present their work at SETU in this capacity. 

Other speakers at the symposium will be Susan Barnes, lecturer in the Department of Humanities and Jim O'Dwyer, Development worker for the South East Drug Task Force, who will address the subject of co-production with people who have lived experience in the area.

The SETU symposium provides a timely opportunity for stakeholders to engage in significant discussions about participatory democracy in the context of drug policy, during a period when the country is focused on citizen participation through the Citizen Assembly on Drugs.