By Patrick Markey
Irish school kids are among Europe’s most active marijuana smokers, a recent report has revealed.
The Irish Examiner reports that the comprehensive survey from the European Union drugs agency also states that marijuana is the most widely used illegal substance among Irish schoolchildren.
The survey states that more than one in three 15- to 16-year-olds has tried illegal drugs in their lifetime. Although marijuana is the most widely used drug, many children have also tried heroin, amphetamines, hallucinogens and cocaine.
Out of 37 percent of teens who have tried illegal drugs, all have experimented with marijuana. But more than one in 10 has tried LSD while almost the same number have experimented with the designer drug Ecstasy.
Only about 2 percent said they had tried heroin and the same number said they had sampled cocaine.
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More Irish children have tried marijuana than teens in Holland, where the so-called softer drug is legalized.
"Drugs have now hit everywhere in Ireland. It’s not just the big urban centers anymore, but small towns and villages too," said National Youth Council spokesman Eamonn Waters.
Only Britain and Denmark returned higher figures than Ireland for illegal drug use among young teenagers. Portugal had the lowest rate of drug use.
Forget Tokyo’s Ginza district or the heart of London’s Soho.
Dublin has now managed to score on the list of the most expensive places in the world to buy a home.
The Irish Independent reports that a little known cul-de-sac in South Dublin has just earned the dubious international acclaim as one of the most expensive places to buy real estate.
Corcoran’s International Report for 2000, compiled by New York estate agents, reports that in Ballsbridge Wood, off Shelbourne Road in the heart of prestigious Dublin 4, just one square foot of property will set you back £455. That makes it the 17th most expensive square foot of ground on Earth. The pricing is based on a £405,000 city pad of just smaller than 890 square feet.
It is ironic, the paper notes, that the Ballsbridge Road address is also the Dublin base for Peter Bacon, who has been charged with drawing up policy to tackle the capital’s spiraling house prices.
A blind couple’s dog was put down after suffering a nervous breakdown when youths attacked it with fireworks and nail-embedded wood.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that the Owens family, from north Belfast, had to have their dog Cindy put to sleep recently after several horrifying attacks. The animal was badly burned when a firework was thrown into its backyard.
Two days later the dog was targeted again when a plank of wood with large nails hammered into it was lobbed into the yard striking the animal on the head. It suffered extensive injuries from the nails and the blind couple were advised to have her put down.
The Ulster Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals described the attacks as sickening and said they believe the Owenses were targeted because they are vulnerable.
Spokeswoman Vivian Grainger said: "The family had no choice but to put the dog down. It had brain damage and suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of its ordeal. Her owners are now in a bad way. This has been one of the saddest cases that we have had to deal with."
Hungry for a home
A 67-year-old Roscommon woman went on hunger strike outside the Roscommon County Council’s housing section in the town on Tuesday afternoon trying to persuade authorities to find her housing.
The Roscommon Herald reports that Angela Matthews, who has been living in a caravan on her brother’s land for more than two years, is seeking rehousing by Roscommon County Council.
"The county council will be in a position to make housing allocations in Roscommon town in the next number of weeks and all applicants on the housing list will be considered in these allocations," a council spokesman said.
Matthews, who says she suffers from severe heart problems, claimed that she will not stop until she is rehoused.
"I intend to stay there day and night until they do something for me," she said. "I don’t mind as long as I have a dry roof overhead and somewhere that’s nice and warm."