Alcohol awareness event hears of harsh realities of alcohol abuse
The realities of Alcohol misuse at both a human and society level were the main topics of discussion at the Alcohol Awareness event held in the recently opened Cuan Mhuire Regional Addiction Support Centre on the Dublin Road in Newry.
Nearly two hundred people including Mayor John McArdle, Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy, Deputy Mayor Packie Mc Donald, Cllrs Michael Carr and Anthony Flynn were present to hear the views of a guest panel on the theme “Our ‘Drinking Culture’ Isn’t Romantic, Its Killing Us”.
The proceedings were chaired by “Friends of Cuan Mhuire Group” member Kerri Malone. Gerry McElroy of Cuan Mhuire welcoming all, gave details of the history of Cuan Mhuire, the Harbour of Mary, Ireland’s largest voluntary provider of Addiction treatment and support for individuals and their families suffering from addiction and other related issues.
Housing Executive Officer Joe Donnelly informed all present of the litany of difficulties alcohol misuse cause to Housing Executive staff, tenants, neighbours and communities.
Local PSNI Area Commander Inspector Davy Beck outlined in a very stark fashion how alcohol abuse wrecks lives, spreads fear and increase crime. Mayor John McArdle told those present that an important objective of the Newry and Mourne Civil Alcohol and Drugs Forum was to encourage all to change their attitude to alcohol.
Speakers from Cuan Mhuire included Laura McGuigan, a young girl who came to Cuan Mhuire on a student placement for a week and has since then been involved with the Charity as a Volunteer worker.
Pat McGinn gave the packed attendance a taste of the Cuan Mhuire Primary School Presentation and revealed some startling facts about how children have been influenced in their attitude to alcohol.
Cuan Mhuire, though primarily involved with helping the sick and suffering alcoholic and their families, is also very involved in preventive work particularly with young people.
Those present also learned of the very personal journey into addiction from a young woman who availed of the Cuan Mhuire services and is, a day at a time living sober and free. GAA personality and teacher Jarlath Burns revealed a fine understanding of many of the issues related to alcohol misuse and addiction.
He revealed that most young people would state that they took their first alcoholic drink on St Patrick’s Day, a fact which the highly regarded School Vice Principal said raised huge questions about our attitudes to alcohol and celebration and the need for innovative actions to change the notion of the “win or loose, we booze” culture.
Sr Consilio ended the night’s proceedings by thanking all present for their attendance. She talked about aspects her own life, vocation, and her work for over 48 years amongst those with addictions.
The Sister of Mercy Nun said that a key factor in helping anyone with difficulties such as addiction was to encourage them to see the goodness in themselves. Sr Consilio extended an invitation to all those with an interest in any aspect the work of Cuan Mhuire to contact her.
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