Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern T.D. Message to students – “Enjoy post Leaving Cert celebrations fully but sensibly, especially if travelling abroad”
“After five or six years of intensive study, and especially with all the pressure of the last leaving certificate year, students are entitled to celebrate and to relax and enjoy themselves. But they can only enjoy themselves fully if they act sensibly and responsibly. This is a message that I, like all parents, would wish to convey to students, especially if travelling abroad.
As Minister for Foreign Affairs, I have unfortunately been very aware of some holidays abroad having been ruined, and families suffering tragedy and trauma, because a small minority of young people did not act sensibly.
There are a few basic rules. Students should respect local laws and customs and avoid the excessive consumption of alcohol and undesirable locations. Secondly, the use of drugs can and does result in death - at the very least, purchase or possession of drugs can result in arrest and imprisonment.
In relation to water sports, no one should ever swim after consuming alcohol or food. All should obey the usual safety rules that apply in pool areas and should only swim, or surf, in areas patrolled by lifeguards.
In addition, all possible precautions should be taken in advance of travel:
• contact details should be given to a family member
• adequate medical/travel insurance should be taken out
• the European Health Insurance Card should be acquired; this entitles one to emergency medical care on the same basis as a national of the country concerned if visiting another EU state (issued by the local health authority in Ireland).
• have the contact details of the nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate to the holiday destination (these details can be found on www.dfa.ie)
Finally, I should like to congratulate students on their hard work and achievement, and wish them a thoroughly enjoyable celebration, either at home or abroad, before they move on to the next stage of their careers.”
16 August 2005