Midnight Soccer could prove a valuable way of combating anti-social behaviour among sections of Galway’s youth and give teens a safe alternative to drugs and under-age drinking.
This is the view of Mike Cubbard, an Independent candidate who is running in Galway City Central in May’s Local Elections. The Midnight Soccer scheme has been running successfully in Dublin and Belfast for the past number of years and Mr Cubbard believes it should be introduced to Galway on a pilot basis.
According to Mr Cubbard, in Belfast, a pilot project in 2005 started with 50 youths taking part. Today that number has increased to more than 1,000. Youths are collected from all areas of the city by bus, take part in the supervised event and returned home afterwards.
The idea behind Midnight Soccer is that it provides football competitions between the hours of 9pm and 12 midnight on Saturdays for those aged between 14 and 17 and would be supported by the FAI, the Gardai, the local authority, and community volunteer groups.
“It would provide a safe networking environment for young people, ensuring they are not being subject to the temptation to consume drink and drugs, and are not cast aside by society to carry out acts of anti–social behaviour,” said Mr Cubbard. “In every instance where this project has been run, reports of anti-social behaviour decreased.”