*The Queens Nightclub.
MEMBERS of An Garda Síochána have said vapes are not visible and present at teenage discos organised by the Queens Nightclub in Ennis.
Assurances have also been issued that “no access” is allowed to the teenage discos for youngsters who are seen to have a vape in their possession.
It follows correspondence from an anonymous group who signed off as ‘A large group of County Clare parents’ in advance of Halloween. Their letter was sent to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly (FF), Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman (GP), Chief Superintendent Colm O’Sullivan, all Clare’s Oireachtas members except Violet-Anne Wynne TD (IND), the Minister for Health, all seven councillors on the Ennis Municipal District and management of the nightclub.
Media outlets including Prime Time Investigates and Joe Duffy’s Liveline along with The Clare Echo, Clare FM and The Clare Champion were sent the letter. “There are too many of us involvined in the writing of the letter to individually sign it,” it stated while also including the 27 recipients and their addressed at the beginning of the letter.
In it, ‘the parents’ claimed there was “a very serious and ongoing issue” at the teenage discos. Permission to vape within the premises was allowed, the letter claimed and said first-hand verbal accounts and TikTok videos show “clouds of vape and smoke, the evidence is all there”. Should parents not allow their children to attend they risk their teenage becoming “open to isolation from friend groups”.
“There is enough momentum and drive in this parent group to pursue this matter via whatever channels are necessary until the correct outcome is achieved. Protect our children, protect their health. What can be more important than the health and wellbeing of our children,” the correspondence concluded.
Referencing the letter at a recent meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) said he spoke with the owner on the concerns of vaping and smoking, “he assured me it was a condition of the teenage discos that there be no access for people with vapes”.
Sergeant Triona Houlihan told the meeting, “we’re talking of vaping now and it was chewing gum a few years ago”. Incidents at the teenage discos are “very low” due to the collaboration of different agencies, she said. “Under no circumstance would we endorse vaping, I’ve never seen anyone coming in with a vape, we don’t go inside and we couldn’t because it is thirty degrees of heat, if any child is refused access they are brought in to a room, they are not left outside to become a potential victim or cause an incident”.
According to Cllr Mary Howard (FG) the Queens teenage disco is “an exemplar of how you run a disco”. On trying to smuggle in vapes, she remarked, “I don’t know where they’d put it because they don’t seem to be feel the cold and there is nowhere they could put it”. Ennis town experiences a real lift on the nights that the teenage disco is held, she said. “They are kids at the end of the day, they are minded and protected,” Cllr Howard added.
A spokesperson for the management of the Queens Nightclub told The Clare Echo, “We have a policy of no smoking and no vaping for teenage discos”.