Chairman of the Oireachtas Health Committee Jerry Buttimer has admitted he is “ashamed” of his binge-drinking.
The Fine Gael TD for Cork-South Central was speaking during a Dáil debate on sponsorship of sports by alcohol companies.
“I take a pint. I take a drink. I binge-drink myself, and I’m ashamed of that, but collectively as a nation we must change our attitude to alcohol,” he said.
Mr Buttimer criticised the practice of bringing foreign dignitaries to the Guinness Brewery, such as the visit of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth in 2011.
“We have far better imagery along the coasts in Co Clare, with the Cliffs of Moher, or in my own county of Cork, or the Lakes of Killarney or in West Cork where we can bring these dignitaries,” he said.
And he laid some of the blame on TV soap operas, including Fair City and Coronation Street, which, he said, “centre around the pub”.
Dublin Central Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan said there was an “unfortunate connection” between alcohol and the literary and music industry.
“The Brendan Behans, the Ernest Hemingways, the Dylan Thomases, the Richard Harrises, and the Richard Burtons did not contribute to the cause of moderation. We see this occurring again with certain figures in the music industry today,” she said, adding that the media portrays drunken behaviour as fun.
The Dáil was debating a report by the Oireachtas Committee on Sport and Tourism.
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