LABOUR PUBLISHES BILL TO CONTROL SPREAD OF HEADSHOPS –
Wicklow TD Liz McManus has welcomed the publication of a draft Labour Party Private Members Bill to restrict the spread of Headshops which are causing so much concern around the country.
“Under the terms of our Bill, the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill, 2010 specific planning permission would be required for a change of use of a premises to open either a head shop or a sex shop”, said Deputy Liz McManus.
“The proprietor of a grocery store, take away or Internet café must apply and obtain planning permission to open for business. However, that same owner or a new owner can then decide to convert the premises into a Headshop or a sex shop overnight without even having to apply to the local authority for planning permission for change of use. In effect there is nothing to stop a person from seeking and securing planning permission to open a sweet shop and then, overnight, turning it into a head shop.
“Because no specific planning permission is required for change of use from one existing retail function to another, members of local communities have no opportunity whatsoever to express any concerns they might have.
“These Headshops are selling products which are not covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act, but which clearly mimic illegal drugs and have damaging physical and psychological effects on those who consume or inject those products.
“Because these shops are not illegal but are unlicensed and unregulated and can sell their products to minors as well as adults there is serious concern in local communities at the failure of the authorities to take action.
“We accept that our Bill is not a total solution to the problem of Headshops. That would require the banning of the dangerous substances that are on sale in these outlets, but we accept that this is a complex and difficult procedure that may take some time.
“Our Bill offers an interim solution that would, if enacted, at a very minimum restrict the further spread of these outlets, concluded Deputy McManus”.
If you have a problem with the spread of these headshops you can contact Liz directely at the following link http://www.labour.ie/lizmcmanus/clinics.html