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Wednesday 21 August 2019

Adults who give alcohol to teens criticised by bishop

Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran
Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran

Sarah Mac Donald

The Catholic diocese of Elphin has hit out at underage drinking, criticising adults who gave alcohol to or sold it to teens.

The diocese, headed by Bishop Kevin Doran, said the streets of Sligo were full of young people having "a laugh" and "enjoying the atmosphere" at the summer festival.

But it also stated "some groups of young teenagers were walking around openly with cans of beer". It added that one particular group had taken over a dilapidated building for an "impromptu party".

"Adults who should know better are clearly sourcing alcohol for minors or selling it to them illegally, and without any consideration for the consequences," the diocese said.

"If we expect our young people to behave responsibly and safely, then we have to begin by behaving responsibly ourselves."

Adults who purchase alcohol or to give it to underage drinkers were also criticised by Fr Bernard McGuckian of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, he said they were "seriously irresponsible". The Jesuit priest, who retired last year as director of the Pioneers, spent 50 years working with up to 700 secondary schools in Ireland, the US, Canada and New Zealand promoting abstinence among teenagers under 18.

Speaking ahead of the Leaving Cert celebrations this week, Fr McGuckian said the real concern was the amount of drinking that now happens among Junior Cert students celebrating.

"Teachers tell me they are more concerned about 15 and 16-year-olds - children - drinking over their Junior Cert results."

He said that in the 1970s the concern had been teenage drinking, but by the 1980s it was teenage drunkenness and by the 1990s it had become drink and drugs.

Irish Independent

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