‘The Young Offenders’ came under criticism at County Hall this week for showcasing underage smoking as acceptable behaviour.
Senator Jerry Buttimer raised the issue of the TV teens Conor and Jock smoking in a conversation about acceptable societal behaviours at a Joint Policing Committee (JPC) held this week.
Senator Buttimer said, while he liked the show, one thing that disappointed him about the programme was the youngsters partaking in cigarette smoking.
“I like that programme and I am a fan of the show but I don’t think it is good enough that a television programme can portray young people smoking which is wrong.”
The Cork senator also said that popular soaps, such as Fair City and Coronation Street, used the pub as a central social location.
Speaking about alcohol, Senator Buttimer agreed with the HSE head of addiction services David Lane and Foroige representative John Kennedy that alcohol is a gateway drug. “I think the conversation around alcohol is one we need to take up,” Senator Buttimer said.
Mr Lane said Cork needs to keep its eye on the ball in term of some of these problems and the problem of underage drink and drug abuse and said there was no point blaming the youngsters.
“In terms of adults, we have a very poor relationship with alcohol. I’m talking about the general population in terms of hazardous drinking and drinking to excess.
“Many of us in this room could probably be as responsible as the young people we are talking about in terms of problems that we face.
Mr Kennedy agreed that alcohol is normalised in society and needs to be addressed. “As a society we have to ask ourselves questions, if we have a birth, death, a win, a marriage, we go celebrate in a pub.”
The Foróige youth worker said that for the most part, the education starts in the home.
“Most young people who start drinking have borrowed it from home, they didn’t borrow it from the streets.”