Barry Cowen warned of drink dangers in 2014 during Dáil debate

Embattled Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen warned about the social problems derived from "dangerous binge drinking" in the Dáil in 2014.
Barry Cowen warned of drink dangers in 2014 during Dáil debate
Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen arriving for the Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle recently. He has come in for criticism for a 2016 drink-driving ban.
Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen arriving for the Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle recently. He has come in for criticism for a 2016 drink-driving ban.

Embattled Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen warned about the social problems derived from "dangerous binge drinking" in the Dáil in 2014.

It has since emerged that

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Mr Cowen was stopped at a garda checkpoint on his way home to Offaly after he attended the All-Ireland Football final in Dublin, and found to be over the limit.

He received a €200 fine and was disqualified from driving for three months.

Two years before the incident, the Laois-Offaly TD had tabled a bill aiming to ensure GAA and other sports clubs with licenses to sell alcohol only paid commercial rates on their bar, and not the sports facility.

During the second reading of the bill in July 2014, Mr Cowen warned against the consequences of alcohol abuse four times, while arguing that "clubs should not be penalised for developing top-class facilities just because they have a bar."

"On a broader level, it would also help ensure alcohol is consumed in a safe controlled environment rather than through dangerous binge drinking," he said.

"Fianna Fáil is fully committed to fighting the disastrous consequences alcohol abuse has wrought on society.

"We support minimum alcohol pricing and taxing off-licence sales to discourage binge drinking and ensure people consume alcohol in a controlled environment.

"It will help ensure alcohol is consumed in a controlled fashion and not contribute to the dangerous binge drinking we have witnessed in recent years which is scarring younger generations."

Mr Cowen went on to state that further examination of licensing laws was needed, as it was leading to binge drinking.

"If Government Deputies wish to address that issue in the way it should be done, they must examine the problems with the licensing laws and the below-cost selling taking place in multiples throughout the country which is leading to a spate of binge drinking and the social problems deriving from it."

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