Head Shops – Health Minister confirms products to be banned

April 23rd, 2010 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen has given a cautious welcome to the news that the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney is to blacklist certain “legal highs” which are currently on sale in Head Shops, as confirmed by way of parliamentary response to Dr James Reilly, Fine Gael’s Frontbench Spokesperson on Health. (See PQ reply underneath). Deputy Breen has also welcomed the crackdown by Gardai Authorities on the activities of Head Shops, however, Deputy Breen claims that the Government were very slow to act on this issue and that there were a number of measures which they could have introduced instead of waiting until the end of July when new regulations banning some of these substances will come into effect.

“I welcome the news that Minister Harney has notified the European Commission that certain substances will be banned which are currently on sale in Head Shops. These include synthetic cannabinoids (SPICE products), benzylpiperazine (BZP) derivatives, mephedrone, methylone and related cathinones, GBL

“However, in my view, the Government could have introduced a series of measures to deal with this situation instead of waiting until the end of July when these regulations will come into force. After all, many of these products have been outlawed in Nordic Countries for quite some time.

· An amendment could have been introduced to the Finance Bill to require head shops to apply for an operating licence. To obtain a licence the fee should have been in the region of €100,000 which would have deterred those involved in Head Shops from remaining in business.

· They could also have changed the planning laws, currently head shops can open, without any planning application to the council for a ‘change of use’. They should have to apply to the council like everybody else.

“I also welcome the Garda crackdown on the activities of Head shops. Parents and Teachers here in County Clare

“It is important now that regulations are going to be introduced that a system of ongoing monitoring of Head Shops and the Internet is put in place. New legal alternatives to these illegal drugs are coming on the market as soon as products are banned and we need to be vigilant as these products pose a serious danger to the health of our young people.”






addressed to the Minister for Health and Children (Ms. Harney (Dublin Mid-West))

by Deputy

for WRITTEN ANSWER on 2004/2010


* To ask the Minister for Health and Children the actions she will take to restrict the operation of head shops and the sale of products that are causing great concerns to parents and medical professionals as the result of adverse reactions to these products are now presenting in our accident and emergency departments in hospitals here; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


– James Reilly


In the light of the health risks associated with some of the products being sold in so-called ‘head shops’, the Government has agreed to the introduction of regulations under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 which will introduce controls on a range of substances which are currently on sale in head shops. The substances concerned include:

synthetic cannabinoids (SPICE products)

benzylpiperazine (BZP) derivatives

mephedrone, methylone and related cathinones

GBL and 1,4 BD