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Testing for spiked drinks will help to keep women safe – Doherty

Doherty calls for Bristol pilot scheme to be rolled out in Ireland

10th November 2021 - Regina Doherty

Testing drinks in bars and nightclubs to check if they have been spiked will help to keep women safe, the Fine Gael Leader of Seanad Éireann has said.

Senator Regina Doherty is calling for the replication of a Bristol based pilot scheme here in Dublin.

“The emergence of a new trend of spiking women with drug filled needles in bars and nightclubs has rightly shocked many people, and I know the Gardaí are monitoring the situation closely,” she said.

“As shocking as it is to think of your daughter or sister, or indeed a brother or son, being assaulted with a dirty needle, perhaps we have become far too inured to the appalling practice of spiking drinks that has been going  on in our pubs and clubs for decades.

“Bristol City Council has invested in new kits to test drinks in bars and nightclubs to see if they have been spiked with dangerous substances.

“I am calling on local authorities across Ireland to get together and examine the possibility of a similar scheme here. As a starting point, I am contacting officials in my local council, Dublin Fingal, asking them to liaise with officials in Bristol City Council in relation to their trial.

“It would be great to get a pilot scheme started here in Ireland in the lead up to the Christmas party season. We want to send a strong message to anyone thinking of spiking a drink in an attempt to have control over another person; it is wrong, it is illegal, and we will clamp down on this appalling activity.

“The media focus on needle spiking has encouraged many young women to speak out about having had their drinks spiked over the years, and it is simply shocking to realise how we have been turning a blind eye to this problem for too long.

“As is so often the case with issues of gender-based harassment and violence, much of the messaging surrounding this issue has always been targeted towards women, warning them to be careful and watch their drinks.

“Let’s get to the root of the problem- pinpoint where this is happening and track down the perpetrators. There should be absolute zero tolerance for drug spiking of any kind. Every support and incentive should be explored to stop this deplorable practice.”

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