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Ó Snodaigh calls for Ahern to speed up on head shop crack down

11 May, 2010 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Speaking this morning Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Justice Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD warned the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern that head shop legislation must be fast- tracked to avoid an increase in dangerous incidents during summer holidays. Welcoming the fact that a new Criminal Justice Bill is being brought to the cabinet meeting this morning O Snodaigh criticised the Minister saying he had been dragging his feet on this issue for months and that the legislation needed to be published immediately and brought before the Dáil this month.

He said:

“I welcome the fact that the Minister is finally moving to bring in legislation to crack down on head shops. Unfortunately it has taken the government four years of long promised action to get us to this point. Sinn Féin has published a bill to tackle this issue which we gave to government. I hope that some of this has been taken into account in the proposals that the Minister is now bringing to cabinet. Dermot Ahern should immediately publish the legislation he is bringing to cabinet so that opposition spokespeople can examine whether it is sufficiently robust.

“I am seriously concerned that the timeframe the Minister is indicating for this Bill which would not see it come into law until end of the summer. There is a real concern about the welfare of school children and teenagers during the summer months. It is well documented that under 18’s and children have suffered a large proportion of the life-threatening incidents we have witnessed this year alone. It is also clear that these shops are selling the dangerous substances in question to children without any monitoring of their customers’ age. It does not take a genius to decipher what this means for the coming summer months. Legislation needs to be put into place to protect children and teenagers who will have more time on their hands.

“Legislation to crack down on head shops needs to be fast-tracked. The legislation which Minister Ahearn is bringing to cabinet this morning should be published and it should be brought before the Dáil before the end of this month.”

The attached video was produced as part of the campaign to promote the Sinn Féin Headshop Bill, published by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, in advance of the Governments move today.  Sinn Féin believes the Government's response does not go far enough and will leave open the possibility of headshop owners producing alternative products to the ones the Government has banned.

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