The latest figures from the gardaí and the Department of Justice show that 36 head shops are still open across the country, the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children was told this week. Mayo TD Beverley Flynn is a member of the committee.
Representatives from the HSE and the Department of Health and Children told the committee that, following the introduction of legislation last month, gardaí visited the 102 head shops throughout the country and requested that proprietors voluntarily hand over their merchandise. The same approach was taken for wholesale outlets.
This action, in addition to the legislation, has had a clear impact in reducing the number of these outlets. The committee also heard that as well as the legislation brought in by the Department of Health, the Department of Justice intends to introduce criminal legislation which aims to ensure that the sale or supply of substances which may not be specifically proscribed under the health legislation, but which have psychoactive effects, will be criminalised.
“These outlets have no place in Irish society and seek to exploit people for profit,” Deputy Flynn said. “We welcome that a significant number have gone out of business, but we must remain vigilant and ensure that we stay ahead of those who are determined try and get around the law to peddle their wares.”