Ireland: Alcohol related offences remain the most common category of youth offence
19.08.2010. According to the latest youth crime statistics in Ireland the largest category of youth offences reported to the Gardaí (Irish police force) are still alcohol-related.
The report published by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Mr. Barry Andrews, shows that although there has been a reduction of 13% in the number of incidents, alcohol offences are still the most common youth offence (17.6%) followed by theft (16.6%) and traffic offences (13%).
The Report is available for download from the websites of the Irish Youth Justice Service www.iyjs.ie
Eurocare member, Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol related issues, welcomed the drop in youth crime figures but noted that alcohol remained a leading cause of children coming to the attention of Gardai last year.
Charity Director Fiona Ryan said: “While we welcome the overall reduction in youth crime figures as well as the 22 per cent drop in alcohol offences in 2009, the fact remains that the largest category of youth offences are still alcohol - related.
“However, we already know that alcohol is a factor in many other youth crimes, including for instance public order and criminal offences.
“We also know from the Irish Youth Justice Service that most young people gain access to alcohol with ‘relative ease'. Added to that, the widespread availability of cheap alcohol means that children and young people can get drunk on pocket money prices, with cans of beer being sold for as little as 67 cent each and bottles of vodka retailing for less than €12. When we consider that the Office of Tobacco Control estimated that the average Irish 16 to 17-year-old was spending around €20 a week on alcohol, then €20 has the potential to buy a lot more alcohol that it used to.
Ms Ryan added: “We agree wholeheartedly with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Mr Barry Andrews T.D. - we cannot become complacent when it comes to reducing and preventing youth crime but the relative ease at which children can access alcohol and the widespread availability of cheap alcohol is not making the situation any easier.”