herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

'Worst year yet' forJunior Cert drink and drugs

DrINK and drug-addled teens vomiting and passing out on Dublin's streets "seems to have escalated out of all proportion this year", the head of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has said in the wake of this year's junior cert celebrations.

CEO Ellen O'Malley Dunlop added: "It's terrible how vulnerable young people are in that state. There are perpetrators waiting to take people like that and abuse them. It is scary."

She cited the case of one distraught mother who contacted the centre yesterday because her daughter had been dragged down a lane in the city centre and did not know what had happened to her.

boundaries

Ms O'Malley Dunlop has welcomed a call by the president of the National Parents Council Post Primary, Don Myers, for parents and schools to get together to organise "controlled and monitored" events for students from next year.

"We want young people to enjoy themselves, but drinking at that age is against the law, and it's a crime to sell them alcohol. We should show young people they can celebrate and let their hair down without letting their guard down," she said.

Ms O'Malley Dunlop pointed to the need for boundaries for young people who needed them more than anyone else.

Junior Cert is an initiation, she said, adding: "It is really important that during the initiation times adults support the young people in making the transition. We need to ensure they are safe."

She urged anyone who needed help to call the centre's 24-hour helpline on 1800 77 88 88.

Mr Myers warned that "it is only a matter of time before we have a fatality and then it will be too late".

He urged schools and parents to get together before next year's results and organise events to allow Junior Cert students to celebrate in safety.

And he called on teachers and parents' associations nationwide to come up with a solution.

"These students are under 18 years of age and under the remit of their parents. Parents need to be responsible. They need to know where their children are. Under the law they are responsible," he said.

"I have no objection to some form of celebration. The occasion needs to be marked in some way, but not in the wrong way. Alcohol and drugs are not the answer to anything.

"This year is gone. We have 12 months to organise. Let's try and see if all the parties can work together in such a way that there can be a happy outcome for all."

csheehy@herald.ie

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