Policing plan in place for Leaving Cert celebrations

Gardai are asking for students, parents, publicans, night clubs and transport providers to ”take responsibility” for young people tonight (Wednesday, August 15) as they head out to celebrate their Leaving Certificate results.

Gardai are asking for students, parents, publicans, night clubs and transport providers to ”take responsibility” for young people tonight (Wednesday, August 15) as they head out to celebrate their Leaving Certificate results.

Today is a big day for many Leitrim students as they receive their Leaving Cert results with 55,000 others nationally, and start planning their future education and career.

But there is concern about the level of celebrations locally. Ballinamore is expecting huge numbers to arrive from around the county and the region to celebrate during the town’s festival which includes an open air free concert.

Ballinamore Gardai said they have “a low number of gardai” but have been communicating with publicans and take away venues in the town about serving alcohol and closing times. Many of the pubs in Ballinamore will have bouncers on the door checking for ID. A garda in Ballinamore said Wednesday night could be a “potentially dangerous night” and appealed to students to look after each other and for parents to pick up their children after closing time.

Inspector Jim Delaney told the Leitrim Observer they have a “policing plan in place” for Ballinamore and Carrick-on-Shannon. He said “Garda resources” will be allocated to Ballinamore for the duration of the popular festival. So far there have been no arrests made at the family festival which opened last Sunday.

Inspector Delaney said all pubs, off-licences and supermarkets selling alcohol must be vigilant of underage punters, he said parents should make arrangements with children for transport to and from celebrations and drivers of taxis and buses also have a responsibility to take care of the youth.

Gardai said there was a “spike in public order arrests” during the Leaving Cert results last year and if this pattern continues Gardai will need to review the position they take in respect of applications for special exemption licences in court. Inspector Delaney also suggested that parents and students think of “alternative ways to celebrate Leaving Cert results” other than alcohol related events. He said there are plenty of facilities locally such as the cinema, leisure centres, and restaurants to spend the evening in.

Gardai said they wish all students celebrating tonight a happy and safe night and hope that everyone can enjoy themselves in a responsible way.

While many will be celebrating today, there will be some students that are disappointed. A strong support system is crucial at this time, by parents and by friends. The National Parents Council of Ireland is providing a free Leaving Cert Helpline. The helpline number is Freephone 1800 265165 and is open until next Wednesday, August 22.

• Best wishes to all local students on their Leaving Certificate results from the Leitrim Observer.