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Headshop fear down to Joe, says councillor

Calls for headshops to be banned have been labelled as "Joe Duffy-created hysteria" by a councillor who has claimed that the country's drug problem will not be tackled by closing down a few shops.

Cllr Dermot Looney said that Ireland has a massive drug problem that will not be tackled by banning headshops, though he acknowledged that stricter regulations should be introduced to control them.

The Tallaght councillor said the country must look at new ways to tackle the drugs problem, and that proper resources urgently need to be made available to resolve the problem.

He described the media coverage of headshops as "Joe Duffy-created hysteria".

Cllr Looney made his comments during a motion before a meeting of South Dublin County Council calling for regulations to be implemented to ban or control headshops.

Fine Gael councillors Cait Keane and William Lavelle had both called for additional legislation to ban headshops.

Cllr Keane said there needs to be further regulation of headshops, saying that a vet even needs a licence to administer drugs to a cow.

"If a pub opens it needs to have a licence, and is subject to on the ground inspections but these shops need nothing to open up. No licence, just open them up," she said.

Chemicals

Cllr Lavelle said there is something seriously wrong when a person can go into a shop and legally purchase chemicals which could have a more serious psychological impact then what could be bought on the street.

He also said it was disgraceful the way these drugs were being marketed to students as legal party drugs or study aids.

Cllr Lavelle said he looks forward to Health Minister Mary Harney bringing in legislation to deal with head shops by June.

During planning and development regulations, council officials said it "doesn't have options" to deal with headshops, as a shop is simply defined as a "place for the sale, display or service of goods".

The motion was passed and councillors agreed to voice their concerns to Ms Harney and Environment Minister John Gormley.

hnews@herald.ie


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