The Dáíl has passed emergency legislation to reinstate the ban on drugs including ecstasy and crystal meth.
The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill will now go to the Seanad tomorrow, so that the drugs can be made illegal again from Thursday.
The emergency bill was needed after the Court of Appeal struck down the previous law which allowed the drugs to be restricted.
Health minister Leo Varadkar says in future, the Oireachtas will have to approve new restrictions whenever the government wants to ban individual drugs.
“Primary legislation will now be needed to add to this controlled substances, until we have new primary legislation to cover the policies and principles,”
“Having said that though the criminal justice psychoactive substances act of 2010 does still stand,” he added.
The Dáil sat late tonight so that the bill can be passed by the Seanad tomorrow and signed into law before tomorrow night.
Speaking on the bill in the Dáíl, Health Minister Leo Varadkar said the emergency law was necessary to safeguard public health.
“The drugs phenomenon is an international issue that needs to be tackled in a coordinated way and addressed in a global context,” Mr Varadkar said.
“Two United Nations conventions provide the international legal framework for addressing the illicit drugs phenomenon.
“The fundamental objective of the Conventions is to protect people from the inappropriate use of controlled and to ensure use of controlled drugs is restricted to medical and scientific purposes,” he added.
Convictions now in doubt
Earlier today Varadkar says dozens of people found guilty of drugs offences could now have their convictions overturned.
Mr Varadkar is to bring an emergency bill before the Dáil tonight to restore the ban on drugs like ecstasy and ketamine, which was overturned in court this morning.
The ban on more than 100 drugs was overturned when the Court of Appeal ruled the relevant law to be unconstitutional.
Heroin, cannabis and cocaine are not affected - but the possession of ecstasy, ketamine, benzodiazopenes and so-called 'legal highs' is no longer a crime.
However Mr Varadkar says the sale, supply and import of the drugs is still illegal.
And he says a small number of convictions could now be appealed.
The new ban will not take effect until midnight tomorrow night - so there is no punishment for anyone who possess these drugs in the meantime.
Daniel McConnell is group political correspondent with Independent Newspapers.
He told Newstalk Lunchtime how this all come about.