Letterkenny alcohol poisoning raised in the Dáil

The admission to Letterkenny General Hospital of 26 students because of alcohol poisoning has been raised in the Dáil.

The admission to Letterkenny General Hospital of 26 students because of alcohol poisoning has been raised in the Dáil.

Donegal Fianna Fáil Deputy Charlie McConalogue raised the incident which occurred one night last October.

He said the incident was the result of a promotion which reduced the price of some drinks by 99 per cent.

“It is the extreme end of something that is a much wider and growing problem with our young people,” he said.

The TD highlighted a recent survey by Headstrong in association with UCD of 14,000 teenagers and young adults which found that 38 per cent of participants had problematic or harmful drinking behaviour, with a further seven per cent having signs of alcohol dependence.

He said the survey indicated that by sixth year in secondary school, almost half of students experience problem or hazardous drinking or possible dependence, with up to seven per cent showing some reliance on alcohol.

“This is an epidemic which has been growing in the country in recent years,” he said. “The results of this survey have been suspected, which is that alcohol abuse and mistreatment by younger people is related to mental health issues. Those who abuse alcohol show a much higher incidence of depression and mental health issues.”

In reply, Minister of State Roisin Shorthall said the report of the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group launched last February is the road map for the future direction of policy in Ireland to deal with the use and misuse of alcohol.

She said her Department was now working on developing an action plan on alcohol, based on the recommendations in the substance misuse strategy report.