St Patrick's Day child alcohol fear
Parents have been warned to be extra vigilant this St Patrick's Day over fears children as young as 12 will celebrate the day with alcohol.
Publicans and off-licences have also been told to act responsibly when it comes to selling alcohol to young revellers on the national holiday.
Elsewhere gardai revealed traffic officers will be out in force over the festival weekend targeting dangerous drivers on the roads.
Assistant Commissioner John Twomey said: "An Garda Siochana does not tolerate dangerous behaviour on our roads and over the St Patrick's Day Bank Holiday period, we will be active on the ground enforcing the regulations, with particular emphasis on speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs."
Ireland will be painted green on Thursday as St Patrick's Day is celebrated at hundreds of events around the country. Tens of thousands are also expected at Dublin's four-day St Patrick's Festival and its world-famous parade.
Paul Gilligan, of St Patrick's Hospital, said with children as young as 12 experimenting with alcohol, parents should know their children's plans for the day.
"It is vital that parents are vigilant and aware of the dangers of excessive alcohol use by young people," said Mr Gilligan, chief executive of the mental health and addiction facility.
"St Patrick's Day is an important day in the social calendar of many young people and it's important that parents keep lines of communication with their teenagers open."
Elsewhere a survival guide to ensure revellers do not turn the wrong shade of green has been launched by the drinkaware.ie website.
It advised people to start the day with a decent meal and to eat between drinks, avoid large rounds, pace yourself and not to drive the morning after.