Bishop Eamonn Walsh hosts discussion with young people on alcohol issues

01 Feb 2008


1st February 2008

Bishop Eamonn Walsh hosts discussion with young people on alcohol issues

RTE broadcaster Joe Duffy facilitates discussion and review of DVD
Publication of Bishops’ submission to the Government’s Alcohol Advisory Group

“There should be a break in the link, once and for all, between sport and advertising alcohol” – Bishop Walsh

In advance of Lent 2008, which begins on Ash Wednesday (6 February next), Bishop Eamonn Walsh today launched the third stage of the Bishops’ Conference pastoral letter “Alcohol: The Challenge of Moderation” in Veritas Head Office in Dublin. The publication of this letter last February was followed by the production of a DVD for senior cycle secondary pupils “Find the Balance: Dare to Dream” and this was launched in Tallaght Community School on 15 November last.

Bishop Walsh said, “Cardinal Seán Brady, along with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and myself, launched this DVD to 150 students, staff, public representatives and members of the media. Since the launch, this DVD, with accompanying teachers’ notes, has been distributed to 875 post-primary schools across the island. From today this DVD is available on the world wide web via

“This morning we are going to hear the reactions of some of the young people to the DVD Find the Balance: Dare to Dream and also we will benefit from their suggestions and advice regarding how best to deal with the issue of young people and alcohol, in practical ways, into the future. In this regard, I very much appreciate the attendance today of the teachers and pupils from Tallaght Community College, Our Lady’s College Greenhills Drogheda and Holy Family Secondary School Saggart, Co Dublin.

“I am also delighted to welcome this morning the well known RTE broadcaster and columnist Joe Duffy. Joe has helpfully agreed to facilitate the discussion with the students present regarding the DVD and on the topic of alcohol and young people.

“As we approach the beginning of Lent, may I put a challenge to all of us to go teetotal or cut down by one third in personal use of alcohol during Lent. Having reduced our alcohol intake by a third, I would be interested to hear how people found this fast and if they succeeded or failed. Any feedback on personal or group experiences would be most welcome and can be forwarded to the Irish Bishops Drugs’ Initiative at [email protected] or IBDI, Clonliffe College, Clonliffe Road, Dublin.”

Bishop Walsh continued, “As well as taking personal responsibility to reduce alcohol consumption in our own lives, I believe that at a macro level something should also be done to radically shift alcohol away from the mainstream cultural position that it currently occupies in Irish society. A good starting point would be to break, once and for all, the link between sport and advertising alcohol. We need to do it with the same vigour and determination as the effort to remove advertising for tobacco from sports. The stakes are high. The quality of life of whole families and communities is what is at risk.”


Notes for Editors

The Lent 2008 special feature on hosts:
– Pope Benedict XVI’s message for Lent 2008
– DVD on alcohol: “Find the Balance – Dare to dream”
– The Bishops’ Conference pastoral letter – Alcohol: The Challenge of Moderation in English, Irish and Polish
– Irish Bishops’ Drug and Alcohol Initiative’s (IBDI) submission this week to the Government’s Alcohol Advisory Group
– Media pack

The IBDI has issued questionnaires to schools asking students for feedback on the DVD. To date, three schools have responded and an analysis of four sample questions, received from166 students, is attached. The questions reviewed were:
– How would you best describe the content of the DVD?
– What way did the DVD make you think about your choices of drinking alcohol?
– Why do you think young people misuse alcohol?
– What do you believe would change young people’s behaviour to drink alcohol in moderation?

Further information:
Martin Long, Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Kathy Tynan, Communications Officer (086 817 5674)