Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues, urged parents of Leaving Certs to talk with their children about celebratory plans as part of the organisation’s general appeal to students to take care and stay safe.
The charity’s director Fiona Ryan urged parents to be aware of their teenagers’ post-exam plans and to discuss simple ‘stay safe’ guidelines with their children.
She said: “It’s natural young people are looking forward to celebrating the end of a tough exam season. For a significant number this will involve alcohol, many could feel that they have to drink alcohol to celebrate and even feel under pressure to do so.
“We would urge young people to above all be safe and to be aware that not everyone is drinking. For those young people who choose to drink, we would ask that they stay safe and follow some simple guidelines such as: knowing how to get home, teaming up with a friend – using a buddy system and avoiding risky situations including getting into a car with a driver who has been drinking.
“Stay in control – remember that you do not have to drink if you don’t want to and if you do drink, only you will know when you’ve had enough. Don’t put pressure on your friends to drink – and respect their decision.
“We would urge parents to discuss their children’s plan for the evening, ask where they are going, who they are going with, how and when they plan on getting home. Remind them that they don’t have to drink and while you may not be happy about their decision to drink, if they find themselves in trouble, as a parent tell them you would much prefer they call home than fear the consequences of their drinking. Alcohol Action Ireland’s website www.alcoholireland.ie has tips on how to talk with your child about alcohol.”
This year, more than 59,000 young people sat the Leaving Certificate and a proportion of these will be travelling abroad to celebrate. Ms Ryan said:
“It’s vital that parents and students remember that drinks measures in foreign countries are often much larger than at home and that they are in an unfamiliar environment and should be extra vigilant regarding their safety. Alcohol whether at home or abroad has the capacity to seriously influence your judgment and ability to make good decisions.”
For parents, you can go to: www. alcoholireland.ie – alcohol and you, for parents
For further information or comment contact:
Communications Officer Cathy Gray (01) 878 0610/ 087 995 0186