Written Answers. - Under-Age Drinking.

Thursday, 7 November 1991

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 412 No. 3

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  140.  Mr. Callely  Information on Ivor Callely  Zoom on Ivor Callely   asked the Minister for Justice  Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke   if he will outline the way he intends to address the increasing problem of under age drinking; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Justice (Mr. Burke): Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  The Intoxicating Liquor Act, 1988, introduced a wide range of measures which provide a solid framework within which the problem of under-age drinking is being tackled. The basic approach behind these measures is to make it as difficult as legislatively feasible for a person under 18 years of age, lawfuly to purchase alcohol or to get possession of it or to consume it other than in a private residence, and, where he or she gets possession, to make it possible for the gardaí to seize it.

As I have stated on a number of previous occasions, and as I am sure the Deputy will readily appreciate, the problem of under-age drinking cannot be solved by legislation alone. The social, cultural and economic factors involved in the problem of under-age drinking must be taken into consideration. It is for this reason that I continue to promote and encourage the idea of community based initiatives and I have encouraged the Garda Síochána to become involved in organising and assisting such local initiatives to deal with alcohol and other substance abuse. I am informed by the Garda authorities of Garda involvement in 26 existing voluntary local identity card schemes, including four schemes in the Dublin [807] metropolitan area, which are by and large operating successfully. I understand that moves are afoot to establish further schemes in other areas.

My colleague, the Minister for Health, has previously given the House details of programmes for the education of young people on the dangers of alcohol abuse.

I should also mention that the programme of school visitation by the Garda Síochána is being expanded. The schools involved have regular visits from members of the force who give talks and lead classroom discussions on a range of topics including the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. The probation and welfare service in my Department is also involved in alcohol and drug education programmes for young people. The operation of these programmes will be kept under review.

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