Saturday 23 September 2017

'We'll breathalyse Junior Cert revellers' - Event bosses crack down on underage drinking

Teenagers on Junior Cert results night in Dublin in previous years
Teenagers on Junior Cert results night in Dublin in previous years

Kathy Armstrong

As 60,000 young people receive their Junior Certificate results tomorrow, the organisers of one celebratory event hope to prevent underage drinking by breathalysing revellers.

Intoxicated teenagers distressed, falling over and fighting have become a familiar scene for many on Junior Cert results night but Kilkenny No Name Club insist their event will be different for all the right reasons.

The organisation is hosting an event at The Hub in Co Kilkenny for anyone who is receiving their results, regardless of whether they are a No Name Club member.

Club Chairman Shane Doyle said he is certain the night will pass without trouble as staff will be breathalysing anyone who they think has been drinking alcohol.

He told Independent.ie: "We've been hosting these events for Junior Cert results night for ten or 15 years, all the events for this age group are strictly no-alcohol allowed.

"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.

Could breathalysers prevent underage drinking?
Could breathalysers prevent underage drinking?

"We don't breathalyse everyone, they're chosen at random.

"If someone fails the test we tend to take them to the side and wait with them until their parents come to collect them, we wouldn't let them off on their own.

"We separate the boys and girls coming in, we have female staff breathalysing the girls and male staff breathalysing the boys, plus there might be people coming in that security want us to breathalyse.

"If security thinks someone has been drinking and asks us to breathalyse them then we will."

Read More: ‘We have mop buckets ready for the vomit’: Five things I learned from Junior Cert results night

Mr Doyle said that he doesn't expect many party-goers will be drinking before they arrive and he thinks alcohol might actually be falling out of favour with our teens.

He explained: "When we first started using the breathalysers, out of 700 people coming to the disco there were ten or eleven who would have a positive breathalyser reading, last year we had no positive readings on it.

"We're absolutely hoping for the same thing again, I suppose we have that reputation now that this is a no alcohol event, they are only aged around 15 and they respect that.

Two teenage girls out in Dublin on Junior Cert results night 2013
Two teenage girls out in Dublin on Junior Cert results night 2013

"I've heard from gardai there were no A&E admissions from drunk young people on Junior Cert results night last year, which is quite unusual.

"I think young people are more aware of their diet in general and they know what's in food and drink, whether it's fizzy drinks or alcohol, they're more aware than I was growing up.

"Plus a lot of them are into sport, especially here in Kilkenny where so many people play hurling and I think that can be a distraction that might put them off using alcohol."

Read More: Teen covered in blood after bottle attack during Junior Cert celebrations

Mr Doyle said that he has received a lot of positive feedback from parents who are delighted with the event's zero-tolerance policy towards alcohol.

He claimed: "From a parent's perspective it's somewhere that they know their son or daughter can go and have a fun night in a safe environment - they know where they are, there's no alcohol on sale and they can just feel comfortable and have fun with their friends.

"After events we tend to get a  lot of messages from parents thanking us, telling us that their child had a good night."

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