A LIMERICK hairdresser says he plans to cut the hair of those he considers to really need it at his city centre salon.
Niall Colgan, who runs a studio at O’Callaghan Strand, says a small number of his clients have serious health conditions, and need to have a minimal hair-care service in order to help their mental wellbeing.
At present, hairdressers and other services considered non-essential are not permitted to open under level 5 Covid-19 restrictions.
But Mr Colgan said he plans to make an exception for some “essential” cases, and will operate on an appointment basis.
In a video posted to his Instagram page last night, the high-profile businessman confirmed: “I am going to be returning to the salon this week to do a few haircuts on clients I am deeming essential. I have clients who are post-chemotherapy, that their hair is completely out of control, and they need this for their mental health after everything they've been through not only with the illness they have, but also with lockdown and not being able to see people.”
“There are a lot of things going on at the moment that are not essential. What I need to do this week is a few haircuts for clients who are essential services. And I am going to do them. So report me, jail me or stop me, or whatever you want to do. But there are in some instances, hairdressing services what we deem essential and they need to take place, and they need to take place now,” he added.
Mr Colgan insisted the doors of the premises will remain shut, and he will only see regular clients of his – ones who he feels really need the treatment.
"It will be just two people in the salon. I'll be asking people to come with their hair previously shampooed. And I will not be blow drying it. But all the precautions will be taken,” he added.
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Speaking to the Limerick Leader today, the hairdresser says it’s hard for people who have not had a severe disease to understand the need for a haircut in these lockdown times.
"Unless you had cancer and been through chemotherapy. Unless you have alopecia or trichotillomania, or a condition which affects the hair so badly, you just don’t. Nobody in those positions would understand just how essential having your hair tended to is for your mental health. If you look at the amount of things people can do in the pandemic that isn't essential, I believe these people's mental health is causing far many issues on top of the big issues they already have. They need to have their hair done. It's an essential service at this stage,” he confirmed.
“I'm not opening my doors for people to have a wash-and-blow dry. I'm not opening my doors for people to have an inch off their hair. I'm taking a couple of people in desperate need of a haircut to improve their mental health situation for however long this lockdown will last,” he added.
Asked if he is fearful of being approached by the gardai, Mr Colgan said: “I am trying to highlight the desperate situation these people are in. I don't want to break the law. Neither do my clients. But the need for their mental health and wellbeing and the fact the hair is causing further difficulties to them. If the police come and knock on my door and I am looking at what I call more a patient than a client, well that would be on them and not me”