Leonard and Margaret Hatrick, Pat Ferrigan, Eamonn O’Boyle, Bridget O’Connor, Dermot Mooney, Kevin Hynes, Eric Hynes, Don Johnston, Willie Jones, Jim Loughran, Michael Desmond Hynes (facilitator), and Sean Crudden all participated in the Cooley Environmental and Health Group's winter workshop which started around 2.15 p.m. and concluded at 5.45 p.m. on Saturday 26 January 2008 in The Strand Hotel, Omeath, Co Louth. Flavia Amayo, Kampala, Uganda, a young social worker wrote a paper for the workshop and submitted it from Africa with colour photographs to Cooley Environmental and Health Group via e-mail. The theme of the workshop this year was "Anti-Social Behaviour." All the participants put a lot of personal thought into the subject and expression at the workshop was earnest and fluent. A member of An Garda visited the workshop with apologies from Superintendant Jim Sheridan who was unable to send an officer to participate in the workshop.

During the course of the workshop there was little enough emphasis on policing. Parents and schools were seen to be more central to the issue. It was suggested, for example, that school facilities should be made available to the community outside school hours and during the summer. Willie Jones, head barman of The Strand in his address to the workshop conceded that alcohol and other recreational drugs can fuel anti-social behaviour. It was established at the workshop that anti-social behaviour is a reality in housing estates, schools, school buses and on the highways. And it was established that it has a cost in terms of harassment, nuisance, annoyance and damage to property. In extreme cases it has lead to unnecessary death. The question of ambivalence was discussed and it was suggested that the perpetrators of crime and anti-social behaviour are not always hated and reviled. It was strongly emphasised that the ability of young people to be independent and to think for themselves is a quality that is much more laudable than the desire to conform, follow the crowd and be accepted.

"At some point this younger generation must take over from the older one. So what society do we expect them to create if they only see the negative in the older generation?" - Flavia wrote in the concluding paragraphs of her paper on Anti-Social Behaviour.

Photos taken after the post-workshop dinner may be viewed at stumbleupon.com on the web.

Recommended Reading. "De-Schooling Society" by Ivan Illich and "Pedagogy of The Oppressed" by Paulo Freire.