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Breathtaking; NIGHTCLUB'S CUNNING PLAN TO FIGHT UNDER-AGE DRINKING BY TESTING KIDS.

Byline: BY SARAH BARDON

A NIGHTCLUB boss has taken extreme measures to wage war on under-age boozing - by giving kids breath tests.

The Voodoo Nightclub has bought two breathalysing machines to check youngsters entering their teen discos.

And owner Jason Black claimed the devices had been a real success in the fortnight they've been in action.

He explained: "We breathalyse a random selection of the young people and those who we felt had drink taken as they queued to get in.

"We detected alcohol on a number of young boys and girls and they were refused entry."

Out of the 1,200 tested at the no-alcohol club for 13 to 18-year-olds, 15 tested positive.

Father-of four Jason said that the idea behind the extraordinary measures was simple. He added: "I had two hats on - my publican hat and my father hat, I want to take a pro-active approach.

"We want the message to go out to those coming to our underage discos that you don't have to drink alcohol to enjoy your night out.

"We were all young once and we know what young people get up to when it comes to a night out at a disco.

"But at least parents will now know that when their kids are going to an underage disco at Voodoo, there are major efforts in place to clamp down on such behaviour."

However, as commendable as the idea is, Jason is aware of the side-effects of such a measure.

He said if a young person has drink on board, they could be left out on the street outside the club in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, waiting on their friends until the disco ends.

He added: "Some of these people will travel on the bus from different parts of the county and unfortunately when they aren't allowed entry into our premises, they become someone else's responsibility.

"There is an issue of safety there and we accept that but we are determined that the message should go out that young people won't be allowed into our nightclub if they have drink taken.

"But this is a positive story and we have had nothing but a positive response from parents and local people."

The measures have been supported by the Garda and the Donegal Youth Council.

A council spokeswoman said the breathalysing system at Voodoo was a great idea.

She said: "The Youth Council supports any initiative which encourages young people to be making positive decisions around alcohol.

"We believe the breathalysers will send out a very clear message that drinking alcohol before or even during an under-18 disco is unacceptable."

The council has also set up a campaign to promote sexual awareness.

CAPTION(S):

YOU'RE BARRED Club's Jason with tester yesterday Pictures: DECLAN DOHERTY; SAFE Voodoo club runs disco nights for kids from 13 to 18
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 6, 2008
Words:470
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