PARENTS are giving alcohol to children as young as six, claimed a primary school teacher at a Macra seminar in Limerick.
The event in the Castletroy Park Hotel last Saturday was called Drink, Drama and Debate and Macra asked is “alcohol abusing youth or youth abusing alcohol?”
There were a number of speakers including Katherine D’Arcy of IBEC’s Alcohol Beverage Foundation of Ireland; Professor Mairtin O’Fathaigh; Fionnuala Sheehan of Drink Aware; Mary Cunningham, director of the National Youth Council of Ireland and Macra president, Kieran O’Dowd.
One of the most astonishing contributions from the audience was by a primary school teacher and Macra member. She revealed that on a Monday morning when her pupils, aged between six and eight, were telling their news some of them described spending their Sundays in the pub with their parents.
While other pupils described to her being permitted by their parents to have a taste of an alcoholic drink in the home.
After the event Mr O’Dowd said: “It is clear that if we really want to change the way that alcohol is consumed and abused in Ireland then we must look at the various factors involved such as availability, price and also why people feel the need to drink to excess on a night out.
“When it comes to policy formation the alcohol industry should not be involved due to the huge conflict of interest. The key role for them is in the implementation of such policies to promote good public health.”
The seminar also featured a drama written, directed and acted out by members of Macra. It portrayed how alcohol is so widely available to children and youths as well as the acceptability of the excesses of alcohol.
It demonstrated the negative impact alcohol can have with devastating consequences upon relationships, work and family.