Teens must not be ignored in revamp of night-time culture – Higgins

-   Fine Gael Press Office

Teenagers need creative alternatives to tackle underage drinking culture

Teenagers must have real alternatives to underage drinking and should be included in the review of night culture in Ireland, a bye election candidate has said.

Cllr Emer Higgins, who was this week selected as the Fine Gael candidate to contest the Dublin Mid West by election, said:

“Teenagers are often forgotten when we think of night culture but when we look at what’s on offer there is, in fact, very little.

“Evening events aimed at teenagers need to be affordable, safe and engaging.

“Cost is also a major barrier. We need to ensure that there are suitably funded initiatives offering events for teenagers that do not put additional pressure on parents.

“These could range from free open-air movie nights to comedy, theatre or music gigs aimed at teens.

“Local authorities often run these types of events with a family focus. With funding and help from organisations such as Foróige there could be a renewed effort to ensure young people have a choice of entertainment that goes beyond your traditional youth disco.

“I was recently involved in a local TeenFest event which saw a relaxed, festival style event with a glow disco, football darts, selfie mirror and BBQ. It was a real success, and we are going to run more of these locally.

“This type of community event creates somewhere for teenagers to come together in a safe, alcohol free environment which they can actually get on board with.

“It is too easy to dismiss teenagers as disinterested or too difficult to accommodate but the fact is they want to have alternatives to drinking and all we have to do is ask for their ideas.

“The Government’s review of night time culture is a really welcome initiative and I look forward to seeing the results of the pilot being run in Dublin, but I do think we should use this as a chance to rethink how our teenagers spend their time,” concluded Cllr Higgins.

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