The Mayo father of an 18-year-old student who died when he fell from a wall while on a night out in Cork has blamed the current drinking culture on the lack of investment in facilities for young people to ‘develop a mature drinking habit’.
Partry native Eugene Mulrooney was speaking following the inquest into the death of his son Caolon Mulrooney who fell after vaulting a six foot wall without realising there was a 30foot drop on the other side. Coalon was on his way to his family home in Cork after a night out with friends when the accident occurred on December 2.
The 18-year-old UCC engineering student had strong Mayo links as his father Eugene and his grandfather, the late Joe Mulrooney - a former councillor and Mayo Person of the Year - were both natives of Partry.
While the inquest found the alcohol level in Coalon’s system was not excessively high - three times the driving limit - his father Eugene said Ireland has questions to answer about alcohol use. He feels his generation’s failure to provide facilities for young people has created the current drinking culture.
“In essence this is not a drinking story as such,” he told Morning Ireland the day after the inquest. “But it allows us as a family to open the debate [into] what our generation has done to provide or not to provide a facility for young people, which has forced them to do abnormal drinking habits over a shorter period of time before they go into premises.
“We are asking a question and to be honest we don’t know what the question is fully at this time in order to get an answer. But surely we must try to take control and give them [young people] the facilities to go out at an evening time and enjoy a couple of drinks over a normal period of an night and develop a mature drinking habit,” he said.
Mr Mulrooney feels it is now time steps were taken to reverse this pattern of drinking and take responsibilities for their failings.
“We have not given this generation the facilities and opportunity to go out and express themselves and we must take responsibility now for our decisions made over the last 30/40 years. We have to see how we can start a process of how we can reverse that drinking habit which was not there 30 years ago to the level it is now. Yes there was drinking but it was a different type of drinking. Our patterns have changed and we have created the environment for that pattern to change,” he said.
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