There was hardly a dry eye in the massive crowd that packed out The Bush Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon this afternoon after the audience viewed the video created by local young people in the 'Use your brain not your fist' campaign.
The video which is a must see for all, but especially young people brings home the fact that a quick violent action/ reaction can devastate lives forever. It is the brainchild of Comhairle na nÓg, after they heard about the Garda campaign in September 2016, targeting over 18s, which emphasized the consequences of assaults, not just to the victims in terms of injury, (life changing or worse), but also to the perpetrators, in terms of prison, lost career and travel prospects and shame to themselves and their families. Leitrim Comhairle na nÓg decided, following their AGM, that there was a need to educate teenagers at an earlier age, so they came up with the idea of making a video for their peers.
The video is dedicated to Shane Grogan and is in memory of Andrew Dolan , two young men who were victims of unprovoked attacks. Carrick-on-Shannon's Andrew Dolan died 10 days after he was assaulted in Mullingar in December 2011, while Shane Grogan has been left brain damaged after an attack in August 2012.
Joe and Rosie Dolan of The Bush Hotel and Joe and Joan Grogan attended the launch and speak in the video. The powerful ten minute visual piece is expected to be rolled out nationwide to be viewed in schools and is supported by An Garda Síochana, Government creative sectors and local communities.
To show the importance of this campaign and its impact on the local community Judge Kevin Kilrane paused Carrick-on-Shannon District Court this morning to attend and show his support of the the efforts being made.
Cathoirleach of Leitrim County council Finola Armstrong McGuire said politicians are "taking a stand with our young people" to stamp out violence. Chief Superintendent Aiden Glacken spoke of the courage of the young people to create this film and of the humainy and courage of Rosie and Joe Dolan.
It is hoped that this video will touch the minds of young people and help them to engage their brains and walk away from any altercation and to not partake in violence, as a simple punch can devastate lives.
The film was produced by Loch Bó.
More details of the launch to follow shortly.