A senior garda has warned those attending this weekend’s Rory Gallagher International Tribute festival in Ballyshannon that there will be no tolerance for anyone caught in the possession of, or using drugs. Gardai say they will be extra vigilant to ensure that the festival runs off smoothly, and that those caught will face the full rigours of the law.
Meanwhile the Alcohol Forum, a registered charity that works to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harms in communities, has launched the ‘Festival Care Guide’ in conjunction with the festival.
This is aimed at helping festival organisers and promoters to address harmful drinking at festivals and events.
But Inspector Denis Joyce, based at Ballyshannon Garda Station, has issued a stark drugs warning after a number of drug related arrests at last year’s event, for the possession of illegal drugs, mainly cannabis.
His comments also follow in the wake of a huge haul of cannabis plants near Laghey last Friday, with an estimated street value of €1.6m.
“The Rory Gallagher Festival is a welcome addition to the cultural life of south Donegal and we have no wish to spoil anyone’s fun. The great number of people who attend are law abiding citizens, but those who are coming to Ballyshannon and intend to use drugs, will be arrested and charged. This is a scourge on society and we see everyday the harmful effects of drug usage,” he told the Democrat.
“There might also be the temptation for some younger people coming to the festival to experiment, but this is something that is both dangerous and inexcusable,” he added.
Inspector Joyce also warned: “As people who have found themselves before the courts on drugs charges know first hand, it is a very serious matter. A conviction has a number of ramifications and can also seriously hinder a person travelling abroad, if there is a recorded convictions against them, especially drugs. With many people having to go abroad to work through emigration, they would need to seriously think about what they are doing.”
Meanwhile the festival will be the first in the country to endorse the Festival Care Guide.
Chairperson Barry O’Neill said: “This Guide is very welcome and we are delighted to endorse it. I would encourage all festival organisers to make it a core element of their event plans. The Rory Gallagher Festival has always promoted the drinkaware.ie campaign and this latest guide will motivate organisers and attendees to have a greater social consciousness around harmful drinking.”