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Judge distances himself from 'head shop'

By Kinetic, Feb 4, 2010 | Updated: Feb 5, 2010 | | |
  1. Kinetic
    [imgl=white]http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/images/tile/2010/0204/1224263733549_1.jpg[/imgl]A judge tonight distanced himself from the running of a controversial so-called “head shop” in a building he owns.

    District Court Judge John Coughlan said he has demanded the Happy Daze store vacate his premises in Naas, Co Kildare, where he once operated his solicitor’s practice.

    While legal to operate, parents and politicians have raised concerns over health risks of products sold in head shops, including stimulants, known as party pills.

    Judge Coughlan – who has no financial interest in the business – said it had been drawn to his attention that premises he let to a commercial tenant had been operated as a head shop.

    “I had agreed to allow the premises be used as a venue for an alternative medicine centre and had no idea of its current use,” he said in a statement released through the Court Service.

    “The moment I realised this I contacted my auctioneer who reached an agreement immediately with the operators of this shop that they will vacate the premises and seek accommodation elsewhere.”

    It is believed dozens have opened in towns around the country in the last few months – some open until 4am at weekends and offering delivery service.

    Health Minister Mary Harney has promised to introduce legislation to deal with the stores by June and bring Ireland into line with the UK’s stricter anti-drugs laws.

    Fine Gael health spokesman, Dr James Reilly, welcomed the Minister’s pledge .

    He said the recent bane of head shops has already done untold physiological and psychiatric damage to young adults.

    “The products sold in head shops mimic the effects of illegal substances, however, young people feel it is okay to take them because they are legal,” said Dr Reilly.

    “Teenagers, as a result of their ’head shop high’ have reported suffering from panic attacks, paranoia, delirium and psychosis.

    “The need for the State to protect our youth with legislation is urgent.”

    Date published: 03/02/2010 - 18:45:03
    Author: Unknown



  1. BloodyMuffin
    typo? Im almost certain that that's not what they intended to say... then again, my friend swim felt that vast damage had been done to him when they stopped selling his favorite products for a while...
  2. Terrapinzflyer
    Judge owns premises rented by Naas head shop
    Head shops operating completely within the law

    SENIOR gardai say they are awaiting a change in the law before they can investigate the growing number of so-called head shops in County Kildare.
    Parents have raised concerns about the materials for sale in some of these shop premises, which are a relatively new phenomenon.

    Enterprises such as "Happy Daze" on the main street in Naas and "Dreamland Promotions", off Claregate Street, Kildare ADVERTISEMENT

    town, have been the subject of complaints.

    However the operation of all of these businesses is fully within the law.

    Gardai in Naas have received complaints about head shops and the opening of Dreamland Promotions, close to two boys schools aroused controversy.

    The owner of the building within which Happy Daze is located is John Coughlan, who is also a judge of the District Court.

    Mr. Coughlan is a native of the area and previously operated a solicitor's practice with offices at that building and also in Newbridge prior to his judicial appointment.

    Judge Coughlan is a moveable judge, which means he is assigned to different areas of the country and he was appointed to the District Court in September 2002.

    He told the Leader that the had been informed by the gardai that the business - which he has no interest in - is perfectly legal.

    He said he had not seen a recent RTE Prime Time programme featuring head shops but added "I know the gardai are satisfied with it. I cleared it with the gardai and all that is sold and done at the shop is perfectly legal."

    A young man working at the Happy Daze premises shop yesterday declined to comment on the substances for sale nor would he provide a telephone number of a manager or owner.

    However the proprietor and Dublin native Anthony Daly previously, told the Leader that most of what is for sale amounts to herbal cigarettes.

    "These are herbal smokes; an alternative to cigarettes and which don't cause cancer," he claimed.

    "Some of the customers who have come in are looking for a way of giving up or staying off cigarettes while others smoke it simply as a way of relaxing.

    "One woman who came in believed that some of it actually helps to relieve asthma symptoms," added Mr Daly.

    When asked about the logo resembling the marijuana leaf he said he used this simply as a marketing image.

    "I have had no complaints from anybody about the leaf and if there are any objections I will remove it," he promised.

    The owner of a new retail business in Kildare town Paul Morgan, has trenchantly denied he is operating a so-called "head shop" and described it as an adult themed party shop.

    He stressed he was anxious to ensure that nobody under 18 years of age is served and said ID is required.

    Dep. Sean O Fearghail has said he is in favour of banning head shops.

    "The problem is that these shops are opening all over and while the products are not illegal, some bring risks for people who use them," he stated

    “Some of these substances can act as a gateway to more serious drug use,” according to Deputy O Fearghail.

    “One possible solution is to require these premises to seek planning permission like off licenses and they could then be required to stay away from schools or other unsuitable locations,” added Deputy O Fearghail.

    The Leader understands that while gardai have visited the Happy Daze premises and spoken to management on the basis that they are concerned about some of the substances sold, no action is contemplated.

    “Until the law changes we have no power. This is because the items for sale are not controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act. It is up to the Minister to ensure that these are listed as prescribed drugs before anything can happen,” a senior Garda source told the Leader.

    He stressed the businesses are not in breach of any law whatsoever.

    Source: Leinster Leader
    Location: Kildare
    Published Date: 04 February 2010
    By Paul O'Meara

  3. Kinetic
    'Head shop' asked to quit judge's outlet

    [imgl=white]http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/images/2010/0204/1224263733549_1.jpg[/imgl]A DISTRICT Court judge who owns a premises in Naas, Co Kildare, that had been rented to a “head shop” has asked his auctioneer to have the building vacated.

    Judge John Coughlan issued a statement through the Courts Service yesterday, saying: “It has been drawn to my attention that a premises I let to a commercial tenant, the site of my former legal practice, has been operated as a place of trade commonly referred to as a ‘head shop’.

    “I had agreed to allow the premises be used as a venue for an alternative medicine centre, and had no idea of its current use. The moment I realised this I contacted my auctioneer who reached an agreement immediately with the operators of this shop that they will vacate the premises and seek accommodation elsewhere.”

    Controversy surrounding the head shop, Happy Daze, first surfaced in the local media.

    There have been a number of calls for a change in the law to deal with the growing phenomenon of head shops, which sell products offering “legal highs” that are not illegal under current law. The Minister of State with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, John Curran, has said he does not believe goods available in head shops should be legal in the State.

    Judge Coughlan, a native of Co Kildare, was appointed to the District Court in September 2002. Prior to his judicial appointment he operated out of the premises in question in Naas, and also had an office in Newbridge.

    Meanwhile, Customs officers are to prepare a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions after they raided a head shop in Cork and seized products being sold over the counter at the outlet.

    Customs officers searched the shop and its storage premises under warrant last Friday and seized products including Pink Champagne, an amphetamine which, officers believe, contains benzylpiperazine (BZP).

    A spokeswoman for the Customs and Excise section of the Revenue Commissioners declined to comment on the matter, other than to confirm that a shop and storage premises in Cork had been searched under warrant.

    Last March, Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney announced that BZP had been declared a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, and that its possession or sale was to become a criminal offence.

    Dr Chris Luke, consultant in emergency medicine at Cork University Hospital and the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) in Cork, has repeatedly warned of the dangers of what is sold in head shops.

    Dr Luke said the “head shop highs” produced by synthetic cocaine powders such as Snow Blow, XXX and Charge, and “organic” leaves and seeds such as Salvia divinorum, were resulting in significant numbers of young people having to be hospitalised.

    Last month in Cork, five patients were brought to the MUH emergency department suffering adverse reactions to such drugs which can include panic, paranoia, delirium, psychosis and serious impact on the psychological health of the drug taker, Dr Luke said.

    Source: Irish Times Online
    Authors: Carol Coulter, Barry Roche
    Published Date: Thursday February 4, 2010
  4. Coconut
    "Alright lads, just hold the camera there. Sooner or later a child is bound to walk past, at which point, you know what to do! Give me a shot that'll pull some heartstrings."

    "... a tryptamine which, officers believe, contain mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxyphenylethylamine)." An equally valid made-up statement.
  5. Kinetic
    Judge had 'no idea' he was head-shop landlord

    A JUDGE known for showing no mercy to defendants on drug charges was apparently unaware he was the landlord of a so-called "head shop" that sells legal "highs".

    Judge John Coughlan earned himself a name as a "jailing judge" because of his frequent refusals to grant bail.

    Yesterday, the judge came to an "agreement" with the owner of the Happy Daze in Naas, Co Kildare, and the business will vacate its premises.

    Judge Coughlan is a district court judge who is assigned to different areas of the country.

    And he said he believed the site of his former legal practice was an alternative medicine centre.

    Happy Daze, directly opposite Naas Courthouse, sells herbal cigarettes and various paraphernalia and other substances that mimic the effects of illegal drugs.

    However, in a statement issued by the Courts Service yesterday, Judge Coughlan said he had "no idea" of the premises' current use.

    "It has been drawn to my attention that a premises I let to a commercial tenant, the site of my former legal practice, has been operated as a place of trade commonly referred to as a 'head shop'," he said.

    "I had agreed to allow the premises be used as a venue for an alternative medicine centre and had no idea of its current use.

    "The moment I realised this, I contacted my auctioneer, who reached an agreement immediately with the operators of this shop that they will vacate the premises and seek accommodation elsewhere."

    The judge had earlier told a local newspaper he had asked gardai about the business -- and they had told him it was perfectly legal.

    "I know the gardai are satisfied with it. I cleared it with the gardai and all that is sold and done at the shop is perfectly legal," he told the newspaper.

    These comments had sparked a raft of complaints from callers to 'Liveline' on RTE radio yesterday.

    The owner of Happy Daze was unavailable for comment yesterday.

    Meanwhile, Health Minister Mary Harney promised to bring in legislation -- similar to laws introduced in Britain -- banning a range of substances on sale in head shops by June.


    "Some of the substances in question have legitimate uses, for example, in the production of plastics and industrial solvents," she said.

    "It will be necessary to assess the level of use of these substances by industry in Ireland and the implications for industry of placing these substances under the ambit of misuse of drugs legislation."

    Parents nationwide have lodged complaints with gardai about the sale of substances that mimic the effect of illegal drugs. Senior gardai last night said they were awaiting a change in the law before they could investigate the growing number of head shops.

    Businesses such as Happy Daze have been the subject of complaints but they are operating fully within the law, a spokesman said.

    Elsewhere, a second public meeting was held last night by a group protesting about the High Times shop in Roscommon town.

    And in Co Clare, the HSE has called a special meeting with school principals for next Tuesday in response to concern over the number of such shops.

    The move came after local consultant psychiatrist Dr Moosajee Bhamjee said there would be an increase in suicide and murder among young people if the Government didn't act now to close the shops.

    By: Eimear Ni Bhraonain
    Source: Irish Independent Online
    Date published: Thu 4, 2010

    Comments by Kinetic: 'To the person who asked me to post a link, sorry, I'm not allowed to post links until I have posted 50 times' Also, 'I never noticed until now that on the pages of these news articles, the Ads by Google contain so many sources for legal highs!'
  6. Abrad
    That's quite a statement to make!
  7. BloodyMuffin
    indeed... lets consider for a moment that the existence of these legal highs gives people a chance to get their fix without resorting to shady dealers. these kinds of establishments, if more widely known, would contribute to a loss of profit for gangs. this is a completely peaceful way of acquiring drugs so i cant see where the violence comes from. as far as the suicide, im not sure whether there's actually a correlation between drug use and suicide or not, but i cant imagine headshops contributing to that. if anything i would imagine they would decrease suicide rates... think about it... a non headshop user goes out and buys their drugs from a shady dealer hiding their habits from other people for fear of persecution, slowly becoming more depressed that the world doesnt accept them for who they are. whereas a headshop user goes out to the local corner store so to speak, picks up some products, and while they may still hide their habits from their loved ones, they at least dont feel persecuted. particularly not after the happy go lucky atmosphere of the shop. heh...
  8. Combination
    Hilarious :laugh: But it makes me sad that they did not mean to be comical, they are serious. :(
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