The former governor of the Mountjoy Jail spoke at a meeting of Kildare Joint Policing Committee in Castledermot last Monday evening.
In a wide ranging speech, John Lonergan spoke about the dangers of drugs and social media.
And he urged parents to talk to their children in a more meaningful way rather than “roaring at them”.
Drugs, he said, are a very complicated and difficult issuem adding that parents should take responsibility for their children rather than blaming others.
“It’s not a case of ‘If only that fella hadn’t sold my Johnny drugs’. It’s ‘My Johnny bought drugs and decided to take them’.
“Talk to them and about the decisions they make,” he said.
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He also spoke about how “young men are notorious about consequences”, adding that they tend to be older before they fully appreciate them.
“We must get them to take ownership of all the good things and all the bad.”
He said that with the return of prosperity that “middle class people are once again doing drugs”, specifically cocaine. Parents should make a point, he said, of talking to their kids about owing money for drugs.
“Never ever get into a situation where you owe money for drugs,” he said. “It is the top of a slippery slope.”
He said that many of the people he had met in prison had simply made disastrous decisions, and were left compromised because of owing money for drugs.
On the issue of social media, he said he had recently met a nine year old with a smart phone and “200 friends”, and noted that only 22% of parents supervised their children’s online behaviour.
He felt that parents should take a more active interest in their kids’ activity online.