Children as young as 12 are gaining access to alcohol in Derry on a frequent basis, a local councillor has claimed.
SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack said that while it was difficult to know if a person was buying alcohol solely for their own use, off-sales outlets could take steps to ensure they are “more vigorous and cautious” when selling drink.
“The fact remains that children as young as 12 years old are getting a ready supply, originating from local vendors,” Colr. Cusack claimed.
“It is deeply concerning when I hear reports week in and week out of children, barely out of primary school, carrying blue bags laden with cheap alcohol.
“I know many establishments are very responsible, however, I would encourage that they ask for ID every single time, especially if there is an element of doubt. They should use their intuition if they suspect a purchase is meant for someone else, specifically those underage.”
Colr. Cusack said that over the past weekend she dealt with calls concerned about a group of young girls getting drunk in a local park in Derry.
“These are someone’s precious daughters,” Colr. Cusack said. “Their bodies are not old enough to cope with the physical effects of alcohol abuse and their minds are definitely not mature enough to handle the mental impact.
“This may be dismissed as curious experimentation but the potential long term consequences of addiction and mental health cannot be ignored.
“There is a responsibility on all of us, council, authorities, parents and public to deal with this trend, but those selling alcohol also have their part to play in curbing this concerning trend.”