Underage drinking in the spotlight after teen disco

Underage drinking in the spotlight after teen disco

A charity ball in Mid Tipperary has sparked a countywide debate over an alleged 'drink culture' among young people.

Last Wednesday a student organised charity ball was the centre of a media storm after parents and members of the public took to social media and local radio amid claims  of  an out of control 'drink culture' among young people.

 Nearly 300 people- aged between 15 and 17- attended the student organised ball to raise money for Pieta House,  collecting a commendable €3,500 for the charity.

However the event has since been marred in controversy after parents and members of the public described the behaviour of some of those in attendance as "appalling" after ambulance services were called to the scene after several party goers reportedly consumed excessive amounts of alcohol.

One parent told the Tipperary Star that shortly after dropping her daughter and friends to the event, she was passed by an ambulance on route to the disco to treat a number of teens who had consumed large amounts of alcohol.

“It was an absolute nightmare. I collected my daughter early, as did a lot of other parents,” she said. 

While no alcohol was served at the venue, witnesses say many had consumed alcohol prior to the event with many teens “barely able to stand” by 8pm when the ball was to officially begin.              

Many parents have since expressed their concerns surrounding the event on local radio and social media with one saying that many teens were ‘so drunk they were only capable of starting fights and passing out.’

“Parents need to educate their children about the dangers of  alcohol. It should start at home and needs to be followed up in schools,” one parent told the Tipperary Star. Meanwhile organisers of the ball have dismissed claims of inappropriate behaviour by those in attendance saying that most "were only there to enjoy themselves, meet their friends and help a good cause."

"Pieta House is a charity close to our hearts. Unfortunately the actions of some people ruined the night for a lot of people but we can't be held accountable for their actions," they said.

 See editorial comment, page 8.