herald

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Junior Cert students warned to stay off the booze on results day

Liam Twomey
Liam Twomey

Alcohol watchdog DrinkAware has warned students that the earlier they begin drinking, the greater an affect it will have on their future mental health.

As more than 61,000 pupils around the country celebrate their Junior Cert results tonight, the group's chief medical officer Dr Liam Twomey said "parents need to talk honestly" with their children.

Research done by Behaviour and Attitudes revealed that more parents - from 9pc in 2015 to 15pc this year - now believe it is acceptable for children to drink alcohol at home before the age of 15.

"The longer the amount of time that teenagers leave having their first drink, the better it will be for their mental health," Dr Twomey told the Herald.

"What people don't realise is that the brain continues to develop until you are 25, and for 15-year-olds drinking they are damaging it 10 years before it has developed.

"This [15] is simply too young to be drinking alcohol and the harms associated with drinking from such a young age cannot be underestimated," he added.

A range of alcohol-free parties are available to teenagers across the country tonight, with Tamangos and The Wright Venue in Dublin among the venues offering student discos.

Tamangos manager Rob Brown told the Herald that it has "more security than Electric Picnic" to help stop teenagers drinking.

The HSE have also issued a warning that "alcohol should play no part in celebrations."

It comes as a venue in Co Kilkenny vowed to breathalyse anyone who they think has been drinking alcohol.

Chairman of No Name Club, Shane Doyle, said: "We've been using the breathalysers for three or four years, we have two that I bought over the internet from a UK-based company."

Reform

Junior cycle reforms got off to a good start for pupils, with a higher number than usual scoring above 55pc in the new-style English written assessment at both higher and ordinary level.

English is the first subject to have undergone a reform in teaching, learning, assessment and grading. Similar changes in other subjects will be phased in over coming years.

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