Independent MEP Marian Harkin has established with the European Commission that head shop products can be controlled immediately on the basis of public health or safety. The British decision to ban the legal high substance Mephedrone has been warmly welcomed by the Independent MEP as clear evidence that the Irish government can make a similar instant decision based on public health and safety.
Referring to correspondence from the European Commission Ms Harkin said: “Recent statements from the Irish Government indicate that they must wait three months before getting EU clearance to ban or control certain substances, yet on close reading of the EU directive it is clear that this three month moratorium does not apply in certain cases, eg, those ‘occasioned by serious and unforeseeable circumstances relating to the protection of public health or safety’.”
According to Ms Harkin recent events in Ireland and the UK indicate a need to protect public health and safety immediately and Article 9(7 ) of the relevant directive allows this.
“It is also worth noting that some of the substances that the Irish Government propose to ban or control are already controlled in other EU states, eg, mephredone is controlled in Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Romania, Sweden and Norway, the Netherlands, and Finland.
“GBL is controlled in Bulgaria, Latvia, Italy, Romania, Sweden, and the UK. 1.4BBD is controlled in Sweden and Bulgaria.
“Overnight the Irish Government guaranteed the banks and sorted it out with the EU Commission later - this situation is every bit as important - the legislation allows them to act so there is no excuse for waiting,”- Ms Harkin concluded.