Landlord judge orders head shop owner to vacate premises

A DISTRICT Court judge who lets a premises to a head shop owner has ordered him to vacate the building and seek accommodation elsewhere.

Following media reports Judge John Coughlan is the owner of the building within which the shop Happy Daze in Naas, Co Kildare, is housed, the judge said he had no idea of its use.

In a statement the judge said it had been drawn to his attention a premises he let to a commercial tenant, the site of a former legal practice, was operating as a head shop.

“I had agreed to allow the premises be used as a venue for an alternative medicine centre and had no idea of its current use,” he said.

“The moment I realised this I contacted my auctioneer who reached an agreement immediately with the operators of this shop that they will vacate the premises.”

Meanwhile, legislation to outlaw legal drugs sold by head shops will be brought forward by June, according to Minister for Health Mary Harney.

Speaking in the Seanad Ms Harney said head shops, which sell legal synthetic drugs among other things, needed to be regulated.

“We must use legislation as best we can but we must also realise that the legislation will never be able to keep pace with the capacity of individuals to vary products and to sell them as bath salts, for example.”

Head shops sell synthesised legal drugs which recreational users are substituting for cocaine. They are labelled as plant food or novelty bath salts “not for human consumption”.

The minister said the best the Government has been able to do is to ban substances as they come on the market, in the realisation that a new variation or derivative will be found very quickly.

But she said other legislation and a high liability on those who sell these products could be a very effective way of dealing with the matter.

The depth of feeling on the issue of head shops was also illustrated in Co Clare where the HSE has called a special meeting with Clare’s school principals in response to parental concern over the growth of head shops.

School principal with Coláiste Muire in Ennis, Jean Pound said the opening of the two shops in Ennis had come as a shock to parents.

“We want to act to prevent something happening. The age group is very vulnerable. We are not at all in favour of these shops.”

News of the meeting in Co Clare coincided with consultant psychiatrist, Dr Moosajee Bhamjee warning there could be an increase in suicide and homicide amongst the young if the Government doesn’t close down the shops.


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