Charity urges caution after hearing about potential house parties


A charity is urging caution against house parties and large gatherings of friends this weekend.

Drinkaware said it is “responding to reports of house parties to mark the usual weekend of a popular music festival in Dublin”.

Longitude was due to take place this weekend at Marley Park, before it was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The charity is urging parents to stay vigilant and caution their teenagers against attending house parties or large gatherings.

Drinkaware has cited research conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes in the 30-day period prior to April 24 that found 82% of under 25s have cited social reasons as motivations for their drinking during lockdown compared to 49% national average.

“As we’re hearing about potential ‘Longitude house parties’ taking place this weekend, we urge parents to stay vigilant and if they hear about an event, to caution against attending and share the information with other parents so they can make informed decisions,” said Drinkaware CEO Sheena Horgan.

“Teenagers and younger people have experienced an unsettled time of late, particularly those in state exam years.

“This has led to a rise in stress and anxiety. At 82%, our data clearly tells us that 18-24-year-olds overwhelmingly associated drinking with being social.

“So, there is a concern that some may see easing restrictions as a time to gather among friends in large groups to reconnect and that alcohol misuse may occur.” 

The country entered Phase Three of reopening society on June 29. Some pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and other businesses were allowed to reopen.

The government has also said that “indoor gatherings of up to 50 people when conducted in line with public health advice are permissible”.

Ms Horgan added: “Young people have to date played their part in slowing the spread of Covid-19 in our communities by doing something that feels unusual and against natural instincts to socialise.

“But now really isn’t the time to reverse all the sacrifice made over the past three months. We encourage parents to speak openly with their children to find out if they have been invited to a house party or large gathering and discuss the reasons why now is the time to hold firm.

“Let’s stay the course, follow HSE guidance and look forward to the day when we can come together safely.” 

Last month, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan warned that the National Public Health Emergency Team was seeing a rise in Covid-19 cases in young people.

Speaking on June 22, Dr Holohan said: “In Ireland, in the last 14 days, over a third of new confirmed cases are in young people under the age of 35.

“This is not a disease that solely affects older people.

“No one is immune, everyone is responsible for limiting the spread of Covid-19.” 

Earlier this week, footage emerged of gardaí clearing up to 60 young people from a house party in Waterford.

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