The launch of the booklet ‘Gardai, Youth and the Law’ was attended by parents, youth leaders teachers and young people from secondary schools, and community and voluntary organisations, from across the Cork West Garda Division. Judge James McNulty, District Court Judge for West Cork, and Councillor Alan Coleman, Mayor of County Cork, and Councillor Michael Collins were also present on the evening. Chief Superintendent Tom Hayes officially launched the booklet, and went through the content. These included topics covering Bullying, especially Cyberbullying, Public Order, Theft and Fraud, Criminal Damage, Drugs and Alcohol, and Road Safety issues. Chief Superintendent Hayes said that the primary reason for the publication of the booklet was to create a better understanding of the law by young people. Chief Superintendent Hayes acknowledged Kinsale Youth Support Services (KYSS), who acted as partner to An Garda Siochana in bringing the publication of the booklet to fruition.
Honor O’Brien then spoke on behalf of Kinsale Youth Support Services (KYSS), and outlined the roll of KYSS. KYSS has a primary focus on creating a greater awareness of positive mental health, and Honor mentioned some of the events and talks that have been organised by KYSS. She also acknowledged that KYSS were delighted to be associated with the launch of the booklet with An Garda Siochana.
The guest speaker on the evening was Mr. Michael Pattwell, retired District Court Judge, who outlined some of his own experiences while District Court Judge and his interactions with young people. He also spoke about the consequences that bullying has on young people both in the short and long term. Mr. Pattwell then concentrated on the consequences of crime, and in particular for the character of the offender. If any person receives a conviction, it has a major impact on their ability to travel, and he praised the work being carried out by the Gardai and voluntary groups such as KYSS in keeping young people out of trouble.
Garda Damian White, Community Garda based in Bandon was MC on the evening, and he referenced that when many people encounter the Gardai, they assume it is when something is wrong; there has been an accident or tragedy. Garda White reflected that much of the work done by An Garda Siochana is in keeping young people out of trouble, and not trying to get them into trouble. Garda White also thanked their partners in the schools and community based organisations that provide such valuable support to the youth. It will be through those people on the ground that the 10,000 booklets will be distributed to get to the young people.