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Release Junior Cert results on a Friday “to combat booze binges”

Fianna Fáil senator Averil Power thinks students can get their hands on alcohol more easily on a midweek night.

Image: David Jones/PA Wire

SENATOR AVERIL POWER has proposed a way to combat underage drinking – put out the Junior Certificate results on a Friday rather than the traditional Wednesday.

The Fianna Fáil Seanad spokesperson on Education and Skills believes that binge drinking is more likely to happen on a midweek night when venues are emptier and young people are more likely to get in to celebrate even though they might be underage.

The Junior Cert results are due out on Wednesday, September 14. Last September, the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals said that they thought moving the results to a Friday would help in stemming the underage drinking that occurs on results night.

Power has said today that the State Examinations Commission had “also indicated no difficulty with it” and yet the Junior Cert results are still scheduled for midweek this year. She said that the three weeks before their release would be ample time to push the date back by two days. She said:

This is a simple move that would cost nothing, but could make a huge difference to the culture of partying on Junior Cert results night. There is a widespread belief that it would be far more difficult for teenagers to access venues and purchase alcohol on a busy Friday night… The belief is that it would be more difficult for young teenagers to hire party venues and drink in pubs and clubs on a Friday night, when places are busy with older crowds.

A campaign to tackle underage drinking in general was launched two years ago by the HSE and the Department of Health. Research released by the HSE at the time found that 55 per cent of people surveyed knew of young people who were regularly inebriate. However, only 20 per cent of adults agreed that their own drinking habits influenced young people and only 30 per cent said they would drink less if they thought it would discourage underage people from drinking.

The last Europe-wide survey of alcohol and drug use among under-18s (from ESPAD in 2007) found that 78 per cent of 15 to 16 year olds in Ireland had drunk alcohol at some point in the previous 30 days.

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