Last night at the Balbriggan Community Policing Forum it emerged that a number of licensed premises in the locality had been detected by local Gardaí as selling alcohol to children. Attending the meeting local Green Party Representative Joe O’Brien, stated the following:
I was shocked to hear that a number of licensed establishments in Balbriggan have failed ‘test purchase’ operations by the local Gardaí. This is where in co-operation with the Gardaí a young person who is obviously under 18, in a safe and controlled environment, attempts to purchase alcohol. It is frankly unacceptable that alcohol is being sold to children and I hope it is possible for the establishments to be named publically and to be given the severest penalty possible. My understanding is that if convictions are secured then a temporary closure of the premises is mandatory. I would like to praise the work of the Gardaí for trying to tackle one of the source issues of anti-social behaviour – but we should not forget other contributors to such behaviour such as lack of youth facilities and resources and bad planning in Balbriggan particularly in areas with large and fast development without the appropriate social infrastructure and amenities. It is also of course a serious health issue that teenagers often in vulnerable circumstances can get such easy access to alcohol.
Mr O’Brien was complementary of the Balbriggan Community Policing Forum and Fingal Joint Policing Committee public meetings stating that ‘these excellent initiatives not only bring the Gardaí and Council closer to the people they are crucial in generating a sense of safety within communities. It also helps communities to be and feel more connected with their local Gardaí and relevant Council officials. Of course on a more tangible level they are also useful in preventing crime.