SDLP Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin has said the lack of an Executive is stopping progress on tackling the issue of drink spiking.
It follows Ms McLaughlin asking the Ministers of Health, Justice, Communities and the Economy whether they would take steps to mandate that hospitality venues provide spiking testing kits. Each Minister suggested that it was the primary responsibility of another.
Sinéad McLaughlin is the SDLP’s Spokesperson for Justice.
Ms McLaughlin said:
“That each Minister was asked about this issue but chose to pass the buck to another is an example of how the lack of an Executive is stopping progress on the issues facing people here and another symptom of the dysfunction that plagues this place.
“I strongly believe it is not enough to say that victims of this heinous crime should simply report their experience to the police, we need to be taking proactive steps to prevent it from occurring in the first place and it is worth considering how we could ensure the provision of spiking testing kits in each hospitality venue.
"While I am pleased that the responses from Ministers indicated that they were open to conversations about the feasibility of mandating hospitality venues to provide such kits, it’s disappointing that none of them will step up to the plate and take the lead responsibility on this issue. I appreciate the efforts of many hospitality venues in providing these testing kits themselves, but it is yet another cost for the sector at a time when they are under increasing pressure.
“If an Executive were in place, one department could be directed to take up this issue and while we do not yet know the feasibility of such a proposal, the very least people deserve is to know that ideas like this that could make a real difference when it comes to drink spiking have been explored and costed. This is just one of a plethora of important measures impacted by the lack of functioning institutions and people across the North deserve better from their government than this.”