herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

TD's effort to ban head shops ignored in Dail

PASS: Tanaiste wouldn't halt other business

A Dail deputy's bid to highlight the dangers of Headshops has been shot down in the Dail.

Independent TD Finian McGrath said there was an "urgent need" to close such shops and legislation should be "brought forward immediately to protect children".

He asked Tanaiste Mary Coughlan to "make this a priority" but his plea was ignored yesterday because it would have required a suspension in the order of business for the day.

Deputy McGrath's call came as Judge John Coughlan said he was happy to confirm that a Headshop in a premises owned by him had agreed to close down.

The judge issued his statement saying he was happy to confirm that his solicitors had agreed with the solicitors for the tenant that business at the shop, which was once used by the judge as an office, will cease trading with effect from April 15 next.

"There were some lease and legal matters to be got over before this issue could be resolved to each parties' satisfaction. I am very happy that the matter was resolved by agreement," he added.

Meanwhile, gardai in Mullingar are still investigating an incident on March 18 where three Leaving Cert students were hospitalised when they became weak and faint in school after apparently smoking something at lunchhour.

The two boys and a girl were taken from the Co Westmeath secondary school by ambulance to the Midland Regional Hospital at Mullingar for observation.

It is understood they may have bought the product at a Headshop. They were released from the hospital that evening.

Mullingar Council Cathaoirleach has called for school principals to be allowed to search school bags for substances.

Fine Gael's Ruth Illingworth says school principals should have the right to search student's bags in the event that they may be carrying illegal or unknown substances.

Dubliner Darly Smith revealed earlier this week how he took a Headshop product, Wild Cat, and later found himself on the railway track, preparing to throw himself in front of a train.

The 19-year-old has only a "vague" memory of events that night but remembers that he brought a screwdriver as a backup plan in case a train did not come.

He stabbed himself with the screwdriver and wandered around Phibsboro before passing out at a bus stop. He was found by gardai and taken to hospital.

He said he had bought Wild Cat from a Headshop because it was said to mimic the effect of cocaine. Headshops sell legal highs and drug paraphernalia.

He said he wanted to go public with his experience to warn others to stay away from the substance.

csheehy@herald.ie

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