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Home > Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. Head Shops: Discussion.

[Oireachtas] Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. Head Shops: Discussion. (21 Apr 2010)

URL: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/TOJ/2010/04/21/


Chairman:   I welcome the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Deputy Pat Carey, Mr. Michael Conroy, principal officer, and Ms Ní Néill, assistant principal officer.

I draw the attention of witnesses to the fact that members of the committee have absolute privilege but this same privilege does not apply to witnesses. Members are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that members should not comment on, criticise or make charges against a person outside the House or an official by name.

I congratulate the Minister on his promotion and I wish him well on my own behalf and on behalf of the members of the committee. It is a challenging new job but I know he has already hit the ground running.

The issue of head shops is causing serious concern throughout Ireland. Today, the Garda Síochána is carrying out a national investigation into the sale of illegal drugs and attacks on head shops. It has become a controversial issue which is being constantly raised in both Houses. I am pleased the Minister is attending this committee for the first time to deal with this issue. People want this issue tackled urgently but it must be dealt with in a correct legal manner. In plain words, head shops are a legal loophole for providing harmful substances to young people. They provide massive profits to the sellers and massive harm to the buyers. This loophole must be closed immediately and I welcome the Government’s commitment to doing so.

This committee is looking forward to working with the Minister in the months ahead. His will be the co-ordinating office for other Departments and Ministers, including the health, education and justice areas. The Attorney General will play a crucial role. 

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