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News Article : Court's head shop ban hailed as 'positive' move

A JUDGE'S decision to instruct a head shop to stop selling legal highs has been hailed as "a positive one" for all owners and landlords.

The operator of a head shop in Drogheda, Co Louth, was directed by the President of the Circuit Court not to sell the substances and to revert to its fancy dress costumes and party goods business.

Barrister Kevin Callan, who is also the deputy Mayor of Drogheda, told Mr Justice Matt Deery that the landlord was concerned that the use of the premises had changed.

Dorothy Walsh, solicitor for the landlord, said the result was "a positive one for all owners and landlords of properties where tenants begin operating as head shops".

She added: "This injunction is, I believe, the first of its type to have been before a Circuit Court and shows there is now an avenue open for owners and landlords to stop these activities on their premises."

At a special sitting of the circuit court in Dundalk on Tuesday, an interim order was granted directing the tenant, Brendan Russell, to cease operating the head shop immediately.

The order said the use of the premises as a head shop was "directly affecting the plaintiff's ability to insure his premises, which is in clear breach of the terms of the existing tenancy agreement".

Mr Callan also said that when the landlord became aware the shop had been converted and there was a history of head shops being burnt down he took action "as soon as possible".

Kieran Traynor, a spokesman for the Drogheda Drugs and Alcohol Forum, welcomed the court decision.

Recently, Judge John Coughlan unwittingly found himself the landlord of a head shop.

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The district court judge had rented out the site of his former legal practice, directly opposite Naas Courthouse in Kildare.

Judge Coughlan said he believed it was to have been an alternative medicine centre and he acted immediately upon discovering it was being run as a head shop. He came to an "agreement" with the tenant to vacate the premises.

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