Drunk teens sexually abused -- bishop
A LEADING Catholic churchman has warned that many under-18s in Ireland are being sexually exploited each weekend by drunken adults.
Addressing the Pioneer Total Abstinence national pilgrimage to Knock, Co Mayo, Bishop Donal McKeown said Ireland has the highest percentage of heavy underage drinking in Europe. Bishop McKeown said one in four 15- to 16-year-olds in this country get drunk at least three times a month, and it is estimated that 50,000 children get drunk every weekend.
"The actions of intoxicated adults and some young people's own inability to have control of themselves would imply that many children are being physically, emotionally and sexually abused across this country on a daily basis -- and especially at weekends," he added.
"I am not scaremongering when I suggest that frightening numbers of children are being physically abused because of addiction and that many under-18s are being sexually exploited each weekend -- often in the name of harmless freedom and craic."
But Bishop McKeown insisted that an abused child was an abused child whether they are in care or in a pub.
"That is a national disgrace and we seem unable to acknowledge it," he said.