Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is to explore the possibility of introducing drink spiking test kits across the borough.
The issue was raised by Alliance Party councillor Jessica Johnston at council’s monthly meeting on Monday, September 26.
Speaking at the meeting, the Lagan River councillor, who replaced Eoin Tennyson following his election to Stormont in May, noted Belfast City Council looks set to provide the tests in bars across the borough and asked if council could investigate the possibility of doing the same in the borough.
“Colleagues raised this issue at Belfast City Council as an added safety mechanism for the night time economy in the city,” said Cllr Johnston.
“Most people would agree it is a welcome and useful tool to increase people’s safety when enjoying a night out, particularly for young people and women.
“As the largest council area outside of Belfast and with a significant number of local hospitality businesses, would officers be open and willing to look into the potential introduction of drink spiking kits in our area and report back to council on this if possible?”
SDLP Councillor Declan McAlinden said he did not know Cllr Johnston was bringing this idea forward but revealing his daughter was the victim of a drink spiking incident earlier this year, thanked her for doing so.
“I want to thank Cllr Johnston for bringing this issue up,” he said. “I did not know it was coming up, my daughter was the victim of drink spiking incident earlier this year so thanks for bringing it up, it is a very important issue.”
DUP group leader, Councillor Mark Baxter asked for clarification that Cllr Johnston was requesting a report to be brought back to a committee to assess the viability of such a proposal. When it was confirmed that is what she was requested he told the chamber he is “happy with that”.
Council’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Paul Greenfield noted the chamber was in agreement and asked officers to bring the report back as requested.