Dublin politician calls for curfews on teenagers and rise of drinking age to 20 to tackle anti-social behaviour

Dublin politician calls for curfews on teenagers and rise of drinking age to 20 to tackle anti-social behaviour

A DUBLIN politician has called for a curfew on teenagers and raising the drinking age higher than 18 to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Social Democrats councillor for Howth and Malahide, Joan Hopkins, made the suggestion yesterday on radio show Lunchtime Live following the story of a woman in Howth who fell underneath a train early last month.

A video of the incident showed a woman tripping and falling underneath a waiting train at Howth junction after a teenager appeared to trip her up with the wheel of his bicycle-- horrified on-lookers rush over before a rail-worker eventually pulls the woman up and back onto the platform to safety.

The teenagers had been seen intimidating and pretending to trip other passers-by seconds before the incident occurred.

Speaking on the radio show yesterday, Cllr Hopkins suggested one way to tackle anti-social behaviour such as this would be to impose a curfew on teenagers, and raise the legal drinking age to 20 rather than 18 as it stands now.

More Gardaí are also needed on the streets, she said, adding that there are 40% fewer officers in Ireland than the EU average-- and that this particular incident happened just outside a garda station.

She said changes may be needed to be introduced in Ireland, referring to the Iceland model in which people can only legally drink once they turn 20, and curfews are imposed.

The Soc Dems councillor made the suggestion on a local radio show yesterday

Cllr Hopkins accepted that the suggestion is "radical", but "it's evidence-based and it relies a lot on enforced common sense".

"They changed the laws, they brought in a new age limit for alcohol, you have to be 20 to buy alcohol in Iceland, they introduced curfews."

In Iceland, teenagers are affected by a 10pm curfew, enforced by parents and the community, and the drinking age is set to 20; experts say this has worked, and Icelandic teens now have some of the lowest rates of substance abuse in the word.

Cllr Hopkins added: "If we don't something about this, then we're going to be talking about it next year and the year after."