This from the Guardian (UK):
Author under pressure to name Irish cabinet minister who took cocaine
Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent
Friday October 5, 2007
An Irish government minister's confession in a new book that he snorts cocaine has prompted fevered speculation about his identity and led to demands that the book's author be arrested and even jailed if she fails to name him.
Justine Delaney-Wilson has refused to identify the minister who admitted using the drug in her book The High Society. The opposition called on the prime minister, Bertie Ahern, to question his cabinet over the revelation that has dominated Irish airwaves and caused a storm in the Dail.
Last night, Delaney-Wilson insisted she would not betray her source, who says in her book: "I certainly do take drugs - just coke though - regularly enough. I am certainly not the only one around here [in the Dail] that does. The hypocrisy that surrounds it really galls me. We all know how widespread it is, in bars, offices and over there [gestures to the Dail]. But we pretend to be horrified when we read the figures in the papers or hear about rampant abuse among professionals."
Delaney-Wilson told the Guardian that she had a moral duty to protect her sources even when they were ministers. "Of course I don't want to spend any time in Garda custody or a night in Mountjoy prison," she said. "But I gave this minister my word I would protect him."
Delaney-Wilson said she was "astonished and surprised" that her book had caused a national furore, given that the minister's cocaine confession took up just one paragraph. In The High Society top Irish professionals, including a brain surgeon, admit to regular cocaine abuse. The writer said she would have been less shocked if politicians and the public had raised a storm over the neurosurgeon, air traffic controllers, lawyers and a nun who all said they took drugs.
"I think this whole affair shows that Ireland is a nation in denial in relation to drugs. It says a lot that people are more concerned about a politician taking drugs than those who have our lives in their hands like doctors and air traffic controllers. I can understand that people will be angry that a minister in a government which is waging a war against drugs is taking drugs. But I never once in my research witnessed the commission of crime.
"What this tells us is that while Ireland takes on working-class drug use and the crime connected to it, it tolerates middle-class crime. In reality it is middle-class cocaine consumption that is really fuelling drugs and crime in the state," she said.
It is understood that most of her interviews have been taped and there is a fear that the Irish authorities might attempt to seize the research material.
Article 19, the global campaign group that defends freedom of expression, last night defended the author. Daniel Simons, a legal officer with Article 19, said: "If this writer was even to be arrested and questioned about her source the Irish authorities would be in breach of article 10 of the European convention on human rights." Traces of cocaine have been found in the toilets of the Irish parliament at least three times in the past two years.
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