Thursday, 23 October 2014

Public meeting to follow protest outside head shop

Paul Healy 

About seventy concerned members of the community took part in a protest march outside the new ‘High Times’ head shop in Roscommon town on Wednesday morning. 

  Last week the Roscommon People exclusively reported that a head shop had opened at Castle Street, Roscommon. ‘High Times’ promises its patrons ‘legal highs’ and ‘smoke mixes’ – as well as ‘bongs, pipes, grinders and lots more.’ A sign on the door stresses that the premises is ‘strictly over 18s.’ It is a legal outlet acting within the law. 

  One of the organisers of Wednesday’s protest march was Ms. Jaqui Snype, who said that she was “delighted” with the turnout. Ms. Snype confirmed that a public meeting will take place next Wednesday night, 27th of January (7.30 pm) in Gleeson’s in Roscommon. 

  Amongst the attendance were Fine Gael Councillors Domnick Connolly and Laurence Fallon and HAC Councillors Valerie Byrne and Paula McNamara. 

  Speaking to the Roscommon People, all four councillors called for the Government to enact legislation which, by banning certain products now available in head shops, would effectively ensure that such premises’ go out of existence. 

  Cllr. McNamara said: “I think we are all agreed that legislation is required, because these shops are presently legal. We will be contacting our local Minister (Michael Finneran) to impress on him the need for new legislation.” 

  Cllr. Domnick Connolly said that the problem was a nationwide one and it was his fear that with head shops opening all over Ireland “they’ll get a hold on communities.” He added: “Public houses in rural areas are nearly closed, yet shops such as this one can open, which doesn’t seem right. One wonders how well regulated they are.” 

  All four councillors expressed concern about the difficulties parents face in trying to dissuade their children from having anything to do with drugs. Cllr. Valerie Byrne said that it was important that the media highlighted the opening of a head shop in Roscommon town. “Young people need to know that these shops contain items that can impact negatively on their lives. Teenagers need to be aware of how serious this issue is.”