Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Arts, Youth Affairs and LGBTQI rights Senator Fintan Warfield has welcomed confirmation from the government that a stakeholder-led working group will be convened by the Department of Health to examine the provision of drug safety testing at music festivals and nightclubs in 2019.

Senator Warfield said:

“During a commencement debate today with Minister Catherine Byrne on the subject of drug safety testing, the Minister confirmed that a commitment to establish a working group to investigate best-practice in drug safety testing will commence in 2019.

“According to Eurobarometer poll in 2014, use of psychoactive drugs in this state among 15-24 year olds is the highest in Europe. This has become apparent at our music festivals where the use of MDMA, ecstasy, ketamine and cocaine are all common.

“Confidential drug safety testing services at music festivals inform those who consider using drugs about the potency of the sample provided, with that sample subsequently destroyed.

“This measure can prevent overdoses, emergency health reactions or deaths that have tragically taken place at Irish festivals.

“I urge the government to convene this working group as early as possible in 2019 so that the provision of services may be delivered as a matter of urgency.”