15 April 2010 Edition
Current law bans sale of 'legal highs' to under-18s
Aengus Ó Snodaigh said he will be in contact with the Garda Commissioner urging him to issue a directive along with guidance to all members of the force to increase the enforcement of this law and to commence a focused operation targeting head shops.
Speaking on Tuesday Ó Snodaigh said:
“In the course of preparing our own comprehensive bill to tackle problems associated with head shops and so-called legal highs I reviewed the existing legislation. In doing so, I have identified an immediate step that can be taken by Gardaí pending the passage of comprehensive legislation.
“It is our belief that existing legislation provides Gardaí and the courts with the power to address the sale of dangerous powders to persons under the age of eighteen. The sale of substances to children where there can be a reasonable belief that these may be inhaled to cause intoxication is an offence under the Childcare Act 1991 punishable by fines and/or imprisonment. That Act also gives Gardaí powers of confiscation in public places.
“I am writing to the Garda Commissioner. I will be urging him to issue a directive along with guidance to all members of the force to increase the enforcement of this law and to commence a focused operation targeting head shops.
“I will also be contacting the Minister for Justice requesting that he introduce a simple amendment to the legislation which would extend this ban to include the sale of non-powder psychoactive substances to persons under the age of eighteen. I am confident that such an amendment would receive all party support and could be made next week on the return of the Dáil if the Government was willing to introduce it.
“In addition on the back of the existing law An Gardaí Síochána should launch an operation targeting those involved in the sale of these inhalable substances via the internet where it is impossible to ascertain the age of the purchaser.
“The government have delayed taking action for too long. Comprehensive legislation such as that which I am currently developing is overdue. At a minimum they should act immediately to protect our children.”