Closure of Oldcastle head shop fails to halt protest march

Story by Ann Casey

Wednesday, 3rd March, 2010 4:57pm

Closure of Oldcastle head shop fails to halt protest march

Local people taking part in Saturday's protest against 'head shops' in Oldcastle.

The people of Oldcastle came out in force last Saturday to express their opposition to so called 'head shops' and the 'legal highs' which they sell.

Despite relief in the town that a 'head shop', which opened there late last year, closed last week, the Oldcastle Drug Awareness Group decided to press ahead with the protest to voice their opposition to any further efforts to open a similar premises in the area.

A crowd of up to 200 people gathered in very cold conditions on Saturday afternoon at the church car park and walked around the Market House and back to The Square where a number of speakers addressed the crowd.

The chairman of Meath VEC, Cllr Tommy Grimes, said that schoolchildren could get their hands on these substances and highlighted the dangers of 'legal highs' to young people. Fergus McDonnell of Edenderry Drug Awareness Group also addressed the crowd about the dangers of the substances sold in head shops.

He said they could be sold to youngsters and, while they were not illegal, they were dangerous.

Carmel Reilly of the Oldcastle Drug Awareness Group said they had observed young people going into head shops. She said that, while there were none of these premises in Oldcastle anymore, the problem was still there and it was important that parents were aware of these substances.

She said a lot of people are only now becoming informed about the effects of the legal drugs.

Among those who attended Saturday's protest were Deputy Johnny Brady, Cllr Oliver Fox, Cllr Catherine Yore and Cllr Conor Ferguson.

Saturday's protest followed a public meeting in Kells last week at which public representatives pledged to make a concerted effort to rid Meath of head shops.

The main focus of that meeting was on the existing head shops in the county, but there was also information on the dangers of the substances involved, on how to talk to children about the issues and how to spot early warning signs that a child may be in difficulty.

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