FINE Gael Cork South Central Deputy and Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children, Jerry Buttimer, has today (Tuesday) said the events which unfolded last Saturday in the Phoenix Park have chilled Irish people to their very core, leaving many questions as to how or why such activity took place unanswered. Deputy Buttimer went on to say that any drink and drug awareness programmes that are being taught in schools need to be ramped up and that parents have a crucial role to play in ensuring their children act responsibly.
“In the wake of the Swedish House Mafia concert in the Phoenix Park last Saturday, people have been left bewildered by the scale of what went on. As a result of the weekend’s events, a number of fatalities occurred and as many as 40 people were treated in A&E Departments across Dublin. Investigations are now being conducted into what exactly happened and whether or not the situation could have been prevented. In the meantime, eye witness reports about the level of drink and drug taking among those attending the gig are widespread.
“Our relationship with alcohol in this country has a long history of abuse. More troubling now is the fact that this prevalence for substance misuse is filtering down to our children, not only where alcohol is concerned but drugs too.
“If we do not take the steps necessary to deal with the imbalance in our cultural mindset, we are failing our children spectacularly. Minister Shorthall is attempting to address the below cost selling of alcohol in a bid to limit the access of young people to alcohol. Where drugs are concerned, the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) is advising the Government on the prevalence and prevention of problem drug use. Minister Shorthall also recently launched the 2012 Dial to Stop Drug Dealing campaign which provides with a safe and confidential means of passing information on drug dealing to the Gardaí.
“These are tumultuous times, especially for our young people. We need to ensure that a focus is firmly placed in schools on drug and alcohol awareness programmes so that our children know exactly what they are dealing with. Parents must also be engaged on the issue to reinforce the message. I am deeply disturbed by what happened in the Phoenix Park at the weekend. We now need to turn our attention to getting to the bottom of what happen to ensure a repeat never happens again.”