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Patrician Presentation Secondary School Fethard
19th May 2004

Student Garda Wesley Kelly demonstrating some of the items used by those involved in substance misuse.

Wonderful; well worth while; positive and re-assuring; — these were some of the responses to the evening from the large attendance of well over one hundred people who attended an Information evening of Substance Misuse held in the Patrician Presentation Secondary School hall on 19th May 2004.

L to R: Garda Des Bell, Junior Liaison Officer; Johnny Casey, South Eastern Health Board; guest speaker John Lonergan (Governor of Mountjoy Prison), and Ernan Britton (School Principal).

Guest speakers John Lonergan, Governor of Mountjoy Prison; Garda Des Bell, Junior Liaison Officer; and Johnny Casey, South Eastern Health Board; were greeted by senior prefects Paul Kenny and Miriam Carroll on a beautiful May evening.  All present were welcomed by the Principal Ernan Britton, in his opening address.

The evening was organised by the Substance Misuse Committee of the school, made up of teachers, parents and senior students that had spent many months formulating the school’s Substance Misuse Policy.

At the conclusion of the evening there was an open forum where questions were answered by the panel.  The opening address given by Johnny Casey, who chaired the proceedings, gave an interesting and informative idea of the problem of substance misuse in South Tipperary and the help available.

The Garda Junior Liaison Officer spoke of the importance of knowing where children and young people are, what they are doing and in whose company they are.  John Lonergan spoke on the subject of parenting and building of a good relationship with young people based on trust and mutual respect.

Photographed at the Information Evening on Substance Misuse in the School Hall on May 19th 2004 are L to R: Mary Ann Fogarty (teacher), Ernan Britton (principal), guest speaker John Lonergan (Governor of Mountjoy Prison), Paul Kenny (head boy prefect) who presented Mr Lonergan with a framed photograph of the 'Millenium Sunrise over Slievenamon' on behalf of the school, Miriam Carroll (head girl prefect) and Marian Gilpin (vice-principal).

Mr John Lonergan's talk was very much focussed on prevention and the important roll that parents have in 'listening' to their children instead of preaching to them.  He stressed that substance misuse is often symptomatic of deeper-rooted problems that are compounded by the pressures and stress of living and parenting in today's society where money is plentiful.  Communication and listening to our children is far more important than giving them money etc. During his talk, he quoted from the following thought-provoking documents, which were later photocopied and distributed to those present by the school. (click to read)

It was a very successful evening and gratitude is expressed to all involved: the Principal and staff, caretaker Con Sullivan, Ms Maher and Mrs O’Donnell for the display of posters and projects, the secretary Gwen Cronin, the ladies of the Parents Association who helped with teas for the guests, Seamus Whyte and the Abymill Theatre for sound equipment, the Substance Misuse Committee and most importantly, the guests who made it such an invaluable experience.



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