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Saturday 20 September 2014

Singer Mary Coughlan's flight to Magaluf to rescue son: 'I got the phone call parents dread getting in the middle of the night'

Freya Drohan

Published 08/07/2014 | 11:21

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Blues singer Mary Coughlan.
Blues singer Mary Coughlan.

Singer Mary Coughlan's has spoken about her flight to Magaluf to rescue her son

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The jazz singer flew to the notorious Spanish holiday destination after her 17-year-old son had his money stolen and passport destroyed.

Mary’s youngest child Cian has just completed his 5th year in secondary school but had secretly booked the holiday with his peers.

“When I dug a little deeper I realised he had booked the holiday last September when he was only 16,” Mary told Newstalk. “I didn’t know anything about the holiday until June this year.”

Five days into his holiday, Cian called home in despair.

“I got that phone call you dread getting in the middle of the night. He said ‘Mam will you come get me, I need to come home, you have no idea how bad it is here.’”

Having had his money stolen, his suitcase thrown out the window and his passport ripped to shreds, he had “had his fill of it”.

A hotel staff member told Mary that there were over 4,000 other young Irish people staying in the town.

“I blamed myself for allowing the trip to happen,” Mary lamented. “Cian showed me some videos of the clubs, the amount of drugs available is staggering-  a lot of ecstasy, cocaine, speed, and litres of vodka for €4.”

“I will probably never know exactly what happened, but he was in a state, I said let’s just figure this out.”

As Cian’s passport had been destroyed he was unable to return home alone so Mary had to get a flight out and meet him.

“I eventually got down there two days later on the Monday. We had to do a police report, it was terrifying for him. We had to wait until Wednesday to get the travel documents.”

Mary described the town as “unbelievable” with kids as young as 16 roaming the strip in little clothing and out of control.

“I briefly walked through the street, I thought Temple Bar was something...this was one hundred thousand times worse.”

“I have five children from 17 to mid thirties and I thought I had seen it all, but this was a new experience for me.

“Drink was the drug of choice for all the kids down there. As a recovering alcoholic, I’d never seen anything like it.”

The party town hit the headlines last week after an 18-year-old Irish girl was filmed performing sex acts on 24 men in order to win a free drink in a nightclub.

“They’re all on Snapchat and Facebook non stop,” Mary told presenter Jonathan Healy. “There’s a constant barrage of sex and violence, it’s become normalised, the sexualisation of women at a very young age and the need to have more and more of everything.”

On the plane home, several other youngsters shared their harrowing experiences to Mary and Cian.

“One of the guys had been rohypnolled, they’d all been robbed, people Facebooked me to say their daughters or their friends had been attacked.”

“Cian is very quiet, he shared some of the stuff with me that went on down there.I think it’ll take quite a while for him to recover. He slept for four days and ate mountains of food when he came back.”

Mary advised any other parents who have children currently in Magaluf that the Department of Foreign Affairs are very helpful should they need assistance.

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