Parents urged to play their part in ensuring young people stay safe and well during their Leaving Cert celebrations

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues, is urging parents to talk openly with their children about their plans to celebrate their Leaving Cert results tomorrow (Wednesday).

“It’s natural that students want to go out, have a good time and celebrate with their friends. This is an important milestone for them and they should enjoy the celebrations. The reality is that for a significant number of young people, their plans will include drinking, though it’s important to remember that for many others it will not,” said Suzanne Costello, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland.

“Those who do not plan to drink should not be made to feel that they have to drink to celebrate and others shouldn’t pressure them to do so. It is also important to remind teenagers that not ’everybody is doing it’ and to support those who choose not to drink in their decision.

“Getting the Leaving Cert results can be an emotional and, for some, stressful time, particularly for those who may not have done quite as well as they had hoped. If you add alcohol into the mix this can make an already challenging situation even more difficult for young people,” said Ms Costello.

Alcohol Action Ireland is urging parents to play their part and talk to their children about their plans ahead of the release of the Leaving Cert results.

“Parents must recognise that their child may end up in situations in which they may feel uncomfortable or scared as a result of either their own or other people’s drinking. We are urging parents to talk openly with their children about what their plans are for the evening and make sure they know all the important details, such as what they will be doing, who they will be with   where they are going and how – and at what times – they plan on getting there and coming home,” said Ms Costello.

“It is also important to let your child know they can call home without fear of recrimination if they feel unsafe or unwell at any point. They need to know that, as parents, while you may not be happy with the fact they may have been drinking, their safety is your priority and that they are to contact you immediately if they are in trouble.”

Ms Costello said that, ahead of the celebrations, there is also an obligation on all outlets selling alcohol to ensure that minors are not allowed to purchase alcohol.

“The most recent European School Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD) survey found that young people in Ireland have a particular problem with binge drinking, a situation that is exacerbated by the fact that alcohol in this country is being sold at pocket-money prices, while it has also never been more widely available.

“In the same survey, 84% of Irish 15 and 16-year-olds reported that alcohol was ’very easy’ or ’fairly easy’ to get. Therefore, ahead of the Leaving Cert celebrations, there is a real and immediate obligation on alcohol retailers – such as pubs, nightclubs, supermarkets and off-licenses – to ensure that they are not selling alcohol to minors,” said Ms Costello.


For further information or comment please contact Conor Cullen, Communications Officer, Alcohol Action Ireland, on 01-8780610 or 087-9950186.