A Portlaoise town councillor believes the legal drinking age should be dropped to 17, in an effort to teach young people about responsible drinking.
Cllr Matthew Keegan also believes that teenagers should be allowed into pubs under their parents’ supervision, as part of his proposal for the Department of Health to start a national programme targeting parents.
The former publican says that parents should take a more active role in explaining to their children about the positive and negative effects of alcohol.
“Over the years there have been a lot of drives to dampen down teenage drinking and they were all unsuccessful,” said the politician.
“The legal age is 18, that should be dropped to 17 and teenagers should be allowed into pubs so long as they’re supervised by their parents.
“They should be taught to drink in an acceptable fashion, they’re getting no training in how to drink,” he said.
His motion was welcomed at County Hall. Cllr Kathleen O’Brien said it was a good motion, as “teenagers learn to drink behind the sheds”. She did not believe the drinking age should be lowered.
Alcohol Action Ireland says more than 1,700 Irish people have died from alcohol-related illnesses since February 2012.
For more, see page 10.