Hot Press

PICNIC BOSS CALLS FOR FESTIVAL DRUG TESTING

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At the end of another highly successful Stradbally three-dayer in September, Electric Picnic supremo Melvin Benn spoke to Hot Press about the obstacles, which are preventing him from bringing festival drug testing to Ireland.

“Even in the UK, it’s proving incredibly problemati­c,” he stated. “As daft as it sounds, if a kid gives a tester a pill to test – unless the person who tests the pill has got permission from the Home Office – they’re in possession of an illegal drug. In the UK, the Home Office can only do it. Then here in Ireland, only the government can give those testers a license to do it, and until I can get over that hump, I don’t want testers to be under threat of holding illegal drugs and potentiall­y being put under arrest. I don’t think the police or the Gardai would charge them, but technicall­y they’re in possession of illegal drugs.”

The Picnic were able to take a positive stance by inviting the Ana Liffey Drug Project to offer harm reduction services at the event.

Reflecting on a “highly productive and useful weekend”, Ana Liffey CEO, Tony Duffin, revealed that they’d engaged with 78 people over the course of the weekend. Of these, 25% were female, 72% male and all in their teens and early twenties.

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