15 April 2010

No excuse for Government inaction on closing down Head Shops in Clondalkin and throughout Dublin - Fitzgerald & Delaney

Fine Gael Senator for Clondalkin, Senator Frances Fitzgerald and local Fine Gael Councillor Tony Delaney have issued a joint call for immediate Government action on closing down Head Shops which have appeared in communities throughout the country including in Clondalkin.

Senator Fitzgerald, a Fine Gael Spokesperson on Health had previously raised this issue in the Senate and had highlighted the concerns and fears of many parents in Clondalkin and throughout Dublin Mid-West at the operation of these Head Shops.

Speaking about the issue, Senator Fitzgerald said, "I am very concerned about the existence of a Head Shop in our community and I am extremely frustrated at Government inaction on shutting down these so called shops. Everybody appreciates that legislation in this area is complex, however, there are a number of steps that the Government could take almost immediately to make it significantly more difficult for these shops to exist and to give bodies the power to shut them down on health and safety grounds, planning grounds, etc."

"Fine Gael put forward a number of steps which the Government could take in the short and immediate term including:

The Department of Health issuing regulations that all products sold in these shops must be approved by the Food Safety Authority.

The Department of the Environment introducing planning regulations to allow County Council's restrict the opening hours of these shops, where they can be located, etc.

Actions could be taken now to assist the situation but months have now passed since these Head Shops started causing significant and understandable worry for our communities - yet we have had no concrete action from the Government," continued Senator Fitzgerald.

Councillor Tony Delaney stated, "On a daily basis I am meeting people who are angered, frustrated and worried about the existence of a Head Shop in Clondalkin. Parents are eager to protect their children but it seems that the Government is not addressing this issue with the sense of urgency it requires. I, along with Senator Fitzgerald, am calling on Fianna Fail and the Green Party to take immediate action to help local communities address this problem."