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Counter Culture / March 10, 2021

YokeGate: revisiting Ireland’s reaction to the legalisation of drugs

Counter Culture / March 10, 2021

YokeGate: revisiting Ireland’s reaction to the legalisation of drugs

Words: Dylan Murphy

Six years ago today, Enda Kenny’s government accidentally legalised drugs for 48 hours and we’re revisiting the reaction in all its glory.

Huge moments remain in the collective psyche for years after the fact. I was sat in a field at Glastonbury trying to pour Buckfast into a plastic bottle when I heard about the Brexit referendum results. Every time I hear Sister Sledge now I get flashbacks of Nigel Farage’s horrible grin and relive the collective sigh of 2016.

On the other hand, it’s not all bad. Think back to the shared elation after the result of the Repeal movement or the last day at school before you head off into the big bad world. It’s those moments that feel truly unmatched.

With that in mind, we’re revisiting a genuinely ridiculous moment in Irish history. Today marks the sixth anniversary of one of the most gas moments in Ireland’s history. Back on Tuesday 10 March 2015, Ket, shrooms, crystal meth and a host of other drugs all became legal for 48 hours after a Court of Appeal declared Ireland’s 1977 Misuse of Drugs Act void. It came after the court noted that new additions to the 1997 Act were being made without consulting the Oireachtas.

As politicians rushed to rectify the mistake the internet went to town, with memes bringing the timeline to a standstill and the news made international headlines. To celebrate this bizarre moment we’re looking back at the reaction to #YokeGate. Enjoy.

Blindboy swinging his jaw on national radio

What a time to be alive.

Mr Worldwide

You know shit has really hit the fan when studio audiences in America are laughing at poorly written jokes about Irish people having ginger hair.

John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight Show, was one of a number of US platforms to celebrate the ridiculousness of YokeGate.

Plant-based menus

A few restaurants and cafes capitalised on the 48 free for all offering a new and improved plant-based menu.

Coincidence? I think not.

Apparently, this was a thing too:

Remember Facebook events? (Cries in pandemic) Well, a ton of them started popping up with people being encouraged to take advantage of the blip in the system. The shady characters at the sides of the room got to have their moment and enter dance floors across the country without fear of persecution. Dealers like to dance too you know.

Elsewhere on District: The government unveiled €50m worth of support for the live performance industry.