Large crowds are expected to attend Ladies Day at Listowel Races this Friday | FILE PHOTO
STUDENTS and young people from West Limerick who intend travelling to Listowel Races for Ladies Day this Friday are being advised of a major garda clampdown on underage drinking.
More than 30 schools in west Limerick and North Kerry have been contacted by gardai while local bus companies and transport providers have also been written to.
Sergeant Diarmuid O’Brien says gardai want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable experience at the races and that there will be a zero tolerance policy towards underage drinking.
“Traditionally, Friday, which is Ladies day sees the attendance or young persons in large numbers. We welcome these young people and want then to enjoy their day. However, in the past there were incidents of underage drunkenness on the Friday evening where youths were conveyed to the garda station and their parents contacted. Incidents such as these draws significantly from our resources at busy times,” he said.
In 2019, prior to Covid, in an effort to curb this anti-social behaviour the sergeant created awareness by working in collaboration with schools, bus companies, local businesses and the racecourse committee.
“As a result underage drinking and public disorder in 2019 was curtailed and diminished altogether in most areas on the Ladies day. This also resulted in a more enjoyable day for all in attendance, including the young people,” said Sgt O’Brien, who has taken the same collaborative approach this year.
“This year again we are creating a similar awareness campaign. I have written to 33 secondary schools in the North Kerry West Limerick area outlining the legislation relating to underage drinking requesting teachers to reinforce the message," he told Limerick Live.
Gardai say they will be carrying out spot checks at pick up locations around Listowel ensuring that young people do not consume alcohol and that no alcohol is brought onto buses.
"A stop and search policy will be enforced on entering the racecourse and are again this year asking parents to take personal responsibility for their children," said Sgt O'Brien.
Gardaí in Listowel say they will fully investigate any youths who are suspected of committing an offence in relation to underage drinking.
In each case, referral to the Juvenile Diversion Programme or prosecution before the courts will be considered.
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