These Discos have proved hugely successful and are eagerly awaited by the young teenagers of Athlone and its environs. Cllr. Frankie Keena of the Athlone Drugs Awareness Group believes that this success is primarily due to the fact that the Discos are very tightly supervised without 'smothering' those attending.
Keena said: "Anyone with alcohol on them, or acting in a way that is a concern to others, will be asked to leave. Their parents are contacted to bring them home. The safety and enjoyment of everyone attending these Discos is of paramount importance."
Athlone Garda Sergeant John Lawless agreed: "It is reassuring for parents to know that their children are supervised at all times and kept within a secure area in the grounds of the rugby club."
He thanks the Athlone Drugs Awareness Group and Buccaneers RFC 'for their co-operation in the successful running of the Youth Discos, which can be greatly attributed to people from both organisations giving up their free time on numerous occasions to supervise this event.'
"This initiative is an example of how a number of agencies can assist in tackling the problem of underage drinking," added Sgt. Lawless. "The Gardai are committed to supporting the initiative in the future."
James Henson of the Athlone Drugs Awareness Group said: "We would like more parents to get involved and help out on these nights. Supervision is required both in the Disco and outside the premises, and there is always room for more helpers."
The Discos take place more or less on a monthly basis and each event requires a commitment from volunteers to supervise from about 8.30pm until shortly after midnight but, of course, if someone can assist only in the early or later section of each Disco, their input too will be most welcome.
Cllr. Keena added: "The presence of Gardai during the Discos is a great reassuring factor for parents in allowing their young teenagers to attend, and it is great too to see parents collecting their children promptly at the end of the Discos ensuring their safe passage home."
Buccaneers President Austin Reid commented: "The rugby club is delighted to be associated with these Discos. I'd like to compliment the three organisations on their co-operation in staging these Discos so smoothly and providing a greatly-needed facility for the youth.
"Particular thanks to Seamus Hayes and his staff at MUSICWORLD, Golden Island Shopping Centre, who sell the tickets for these Discos. There is massive demand for these coveted tickets and MUSICWORLD has been most obliging in this regard."
The next alcohol-free Youth Disco takes place during the Easter school holidays on Wednesday, March 26. Tickets are now on sale for this Disco but intending discoers are reminded that (1) no under-15s will be admitted and (2) this Disco will be strictly ticket only.
Parents are reminded to ensure that their teenagers have the precious tickets before they arrive, otherwise they will not gain admittance as insurance constraints greatly limit the numbers that can attend.