Belfast Telegraph

Club urged to enforce no-drugs rule

One of Belfast's leading nightclubs has been urged to work harder at enforcing a no-drugs policy after a former customer died from taking an overdose, an inquest has heard.

There have been repeated reports of substance misuse involving people at Mynt in Belfast's city centre dating back over a year, police said. It is not known if the abuse happened in the club or outside.

Bernard McDonagh, 32, died earlier this year after bingeing on cocaine and ecstasy during an all-night session which included the popular night club. He continued on to a house party in south Belfast and collapsed the next morning.

Club doormen have reported the general problem of drugs to police after conducting searches but it has been some time since an officer at the inquest was last informed of the issue.

Senior coroner John Leckey told the Belfast hearing: "There must be considerable responsibility placed on the proprietors of the club to do their best to enforce a no-drugs policy."

He added later: "I am concerned to hear that the problem of a year or so ago still persists and that one person has died."

Mr McDonagh, from Hunters Mill in Downpatrick, died at his friend Gerard Stitt's house in Belfast on January 8 this year. He had been suffering from depression and anxiety.

The taxi driver attended the party with a group of friends from west Belfast after leaving Mynt in the early hours of the morning. Mr McDonagh bumped into Mr Stitt at the club, later giving him four tablets which Mr Stitt took after leaving the premises.

Mr Stitt, who said his friend's demeanour gave away the fact that he had been taking drugs, invited him back to his house at Donnybrook Street in Belfast. He arrived with several others and they partied all night.

It was as Mr Stitt was calling a relative to take Mr McDonagh home at around 8am that morning that he collapsed in the kitchen and paramedics were unable to restart his heart.

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