The Funky Skunk is transferring its business from High Street to St Mary’s Terrace, which is next to an area which has three second-level schools, with a total of 1,400 pupils, and two primary schools.
In March 2013, Helen Stone, aged 47, of Kilnapogue, Kealkil, Bantry, Co Cork, pleaded guilty at Killarney Court to possessing an unlawful substance and having it for sale at the Funky Skunk on January 30, 2012. She received a five-month suspended prison sentence.
Killarney town councillor Cathal Walshe, who said he had been approached by parents’ associations and local residents, described the new location as “totally unsuitable”. People were worried about their children, having regard to the reputation of the shop, he added.
Mr Walshe also said he had met the owner of the premises to which the shop was relocating and had conveyed the concerns to him.
Another town councillor, Tom Doherty, previously looked for a ban on head shops in the Killarney Development Plan.
Yesterday he called for regulation, similar to local powers controlling off-licences for the sale of alcohol, saying it was undesirable to have head shops next to a school district.
“We need controls in place for such outlets and they should not be allowed to operate in certain areas, especially where young people gather,” he said.
When he first raised the issue of planning permission surrounding head shops, Mr Doherty was told there was no definition of a head shop under the national planning legislation.
“The Department of the Environment was contacted last year to produce a legal definition of this type of shop so that we could bring controls to this industry at local level. To date, we have not received any positive reply or change to the legislation,” he stated.
“It is important that any prospective commercial landlord should be fully aware of the sinister nature of this type of shop.”
The Funky Skunk shop owner could not be contacted for comment yesterday.