An Irish school principal in County Kerry is supporting a controversial move by publicans to encourage parents to bring their older teenage children to the local pub to show them how to drink responsibly.
John O’Donovan of Saint Joseph’s Secondary School in Ballybunion has described the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) initiative as a very good idea, saying it is ‘lovely’ to bring families together socially in pubs.
Interested publicans in Cork and Kerry are reportedly planning to take part in the pilot project at Christmas, which will see parents urging their 18- and 19-year-olds to their premises.
Although the VFI admit they have a vested interest, they say their main concern is to address the problem of young people binge drinking cheap alcohol purchased in establishments other than pubs.
According to the Irish Examiner the VFI believes that teenagers drinking at home before going out to other premises where alcohol is available is a cause for concern and often leads to serious late-night problems.
O’Donovan added that those who abuse alcohol and end up in hospital emergency units should be fined.
“If someone underage ends up in an Accident and Emergency room drunk, then their parents should be fined,’ he said on Radio Kerry. ‘If it was an adult, the fine should be taken from their wages or social welfare.’
He said publicans also did not want to see drinking to excess, and they too welcomed proposals for responsible drinking.
O’Donovan reportedly underlined parenting issue in relation to young people’s behavior, wondering if some parents even knew where their children were when they went out at night.
A VFI spokesperson told the Examiner that plans for the Christmas drink with your parents campaign are currently being finalised.