| 4.4°C Dublin

Spiking scare Warning issued after reports of at least six Irish students' drinks spiked in Tralee

None of the first and second year students affected had been socialising together


Police are looking into reports of drinks being spiked in nightclubs (PA)

Police are looking into reports of drinks being spiked in nightclubs (PA)

Police are looking into reports of drinks being spiked in nightclubs (PA)

A warning has been issued to people out socialising in Tralee after reports emerged that at least six Munster Technological University (MTU) students were spiked with drugs last week. 

None of the first and second year students affected had been socialising together at the event that was held in a town centre venue as part of ‘Freshers’ Week’

They each contacted the MTU Students Union (SU) separately to report that their drinks had been spiked but all of them said they had suddenly felt extremely weak and very sick.

This is despite the fact that all of them insisted that they had only drunk a small amount of alcohol.

The students, both male and female, who have all since recovered, complained of feeling disorientated and ill.

The complaints all related to the same night and the same venue.

The students reported the incidents to the welfare office of the Tralee MTU campus which prompted the students union to mount a special awareness campaign in which lollipops were placed in peoples’ drinks at various events to show just how easy it is to spike a drink.

“Spiking drinks isn’t something that happens often in Tralee but given it happened to so many people on one night we felt we had to highlight it,” MTU SU Welfare Officer Pa McElligott said.

“The students this happened to were first and second years. Neither year would have been on campus last year because of Covid so they might not be aware of what can happen on a night out,” he said.

“We just want to remind people to be aware of their surroundings and look after each other,” Mr McElligott said.

“If you see anyone acting suspiciously in a bar or club immediately let the staff know so they can sort it out. This isn’t just a warning for students we want to alert everyone to what happened.”

He added: "It was kind of a once off, that I heard students were spiked, but we wanted to make sure that it was a once-off by raising awareness. We didn't want it to happen again.

“You want students to be more cautious of their surroundings and who they are with, and you know, not leaving a table full of drinks on the table and walking away for half an hour and coming back.”

Meanwhile, singer Imelda May has shared a story of how she helped someone who had been spiked.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required


Singer Imelda May. Photo: PA

Singer Imelda May. Photo: PA

Singer Imelda May. Photo: PA

Imelda said: "Three years ago I lay on the ground in Soho with a young woman (I didn’t know) who had been spiked and was in a bad way.

"I held her as she vomited and convulsed while waiting for ambulance that almost didn’t come. Police didn’t care."

Irish TikToker Nia Gallagher also issued a warning about needle spiking in nightclubs.

Nia, who is originally from Co Longford, took to her almost 300,000 TikTok followers yesterday to alert people of the new threat.

Nia said: "I don't know how to go about this, but I'm just going to let it all out and say how I feel.

"I know we're all excited for the 22nd, I'm so excited to go out, party and get back to nightlife again. However, what I'm seeing on social media is really making me take a step back.

"I'm seeing so many stories and awful images of people being spiked.

"Being spiked is not new, I've been spiked in the past, it was an awful experience, traumatic but I've recovered, some people haven't, it's really sad."

In Nottinghamshire, police have arrested one man as part of ongoing investigations into alleged spiking reports in the city.

Across the country, there has been a spate of reports of women being drugged while on a night out.

Groups of students are now calling for people to boycott nightclubs to ensure the "spiking outbreak is taken seriously".

Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked for an update and a Home Office source said: "This is absolutely awful. We have asked for an update from the police on this and would encourage anyone to report this behaviour to the police."

One girl wrote on Facebook that her sister was out at one club in Nottingham when she "felt a pinch on the back of her arm and someone had spiked her with a needle".

She continued: "Luckily her friends were with her, as she didn't remember anything after that. An ambulance took her to A&E where she was put on a drip and had numerous tests done."

She added that her is sister is now "okay".

Superintendent Kathryn Craner, of Nottinghamshire Police, said the force is investigating reports of people suspecting their drinks have been spiked.

“A small number of victims have said that they may have felt a scratching sensation as if someone may have spiked them physically,” Supt Craner said.

"We do not believe that these are targeted incidents; they are distinctly different from anything we have seen previously as victims have disclosed a physical scratch type sensation before feeling very unwell," she added.

"This is subtly different from feelings of intoxication through alcohol according to some victims."

Police in Northern Ireland have also confirmed officers were called to Foyle Street on 16 October after a teenage girl believed that her drinks had been spiked and was taken to hospital.

The force said it was also aware of a related post on social media claiming, "several individuals had their drinks spiked in the city during the weekend."

Police Scotland confirmed it was aware of social media posts about spiking incidents involving injections and officers are carrying out enquiries.

It added that a small number of reports from the Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow areas are being investigated, but they do not appear to be linked.

The spate of recent cases has sparked a huge student movement calling for people to boycott nightclubs.

One campaign first set up in Edinburgh, called Girls Night In, now has at least 25 groups, run by students, set up in university towns.

One, called Girls Night In Nottingham, has called for people to boycott nightclubs on 27 October to ensure the "spiking outbreak is taken seriously."

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices