22 April 2010 Edition
British ban prompts fears of Irish mephedrone flood
Responding to the ban on the sale of mephedrone which took effect in Britain and the north of Ireland on Friday, Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has called on the Gardaí and Customs to be on the lookout for shipments of the drugs being brought to Ireland for sale in shops here.
Ó Snodaigh said it is important to note where the drug is destined for in order to confiscate it when Ireland’s ban comes into place in the summer. He also called on the Gardaí to increase surveillance of head shops and to enforce the existing law under the Childcare Act 1991 which already bans the sale of inhalable products, including mephedrone, as it can be reasonably assumed that these products are being purchased for the purposes of intoxication.
Clondalkin head shop campaign
Sinn Féin has this week launched a campaign aimed at closing the Green Dayz head shop in Clondalkin, west Dublin.
Speaking on Saturday after a protest at the head shop, Sinn Féin spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said:
“There are more than 100 shops selling mephedrone related products across Ireland such as ‘snow’, ‘blow’ or ‘bath salts’. These legal highs have be linked to over 20 deaths in Britain and the suicide of 17-year-old Lee Campbell in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, last month.
“There is widespread and genuine public concern over the health implications of mephedrone and other legal highs.
“Charities working with young people, the homeless and drug users have all expressed concern over the impact of legal highs on their client group.
“The Irish Medical Organisation heard doctors at their annual conference last week describe the worrying increase in mephedrone-related admissions to hospitals.
“All have described firsthand experience of the negative mental and physical health impacts of legal highs, particularly on vulnerable young people.
“In the coming weeks Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh will publish a Bill to establish a new regulatory authority, with powers to identify and classify non-medical psychoactive substances and to prohibit or otherwise restrict and license their production and sale.
The new body, which would be made up of health, drugs and law enforcement professionals and local communities, would work in tandem with other drugs and public health bodies and the government’s National Drugs Strategy.
“In the meantime, local communities must continue to campaign for the closure of any shop that sells mephedrone-related products. Public pressure must be brought to bear on head shops themselves and on landlords who lease them properties.
“To this end Sinn Féin will be holding a series of petition signings, protests and other events aimed at ending the sale of mephedrone-related substances from Green Dayz in Clondalkin.
“We will also be contacting the landlord of the property in Clondalkin to secure their support for our campaign.”
North Kerry picket
North Kerry Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris and a large contingent of over twenty Sinn Féin members from all over Kerry protested outside a head shop in Tralee town centre last Saturday. Accompanied by both Tralee Town Councillor Cathal Foley and D.J. O’Driscoll of Munster Sinn Féin’s Organisational Development Unit, Ferris spoke to a representative of the head shop on the day, urging them to close the outlet.
“The feedback from the public has been extremely positive on Sinn Féin’s stance on this issue,” he said afterwards. “Many individuals on the street today have indicated their agreement with our course of action. As a result, we will carry out an ongoing series of protests. We will be picketing this head shop again next Saturday at 2pm. I would persuade parents and anyone concerned about the impact of these substances on our communities to join us.”
Picket on a head shop in Cork City