There continues to be misleading commentary that alcohol consumption is increasing in Ireland and that it grew worse as a result of the Covid-19 lockdowns, which is simply not true.
The cold, hard data from the Revenue Commissioners, which experts across the board use as the standard measure for alcohol consumption in Ireland, shows that the amount of alcohol consumed fell significantly last year as a direct result of the pandemic and the hospitality sector being closed.
Around 500 people from Ireland participated in the ‘European Alcohol and Covid-19 Survey’, which appeared in the scientific journal Addiction. This is not reflective in any way of a national sample size, and thus is totally misleading and in this case incorrect.
The survey was conducted between April and late July 2020 and found “significant decreases in average alcohol consumption in every country except Ireland and the UK”.
Revenue figures on alcohol consumption for the second quarter of last year, which more or less covers this period, show that total alcohol consumption actually fell by 7.3%. During this time, beer consumption was down by 17.5%, cider consumption was down by 9.4%, and spirits consumption declined by 9.7%. Wine sales, which generally occur in the retail sector for the most part, were up by 11.7%, but this was in no way enough to offset the decline in consumption overall.
The fall in alcohol consumption was also reflected in figures from Revenue for the entire year of 2020, which show that per capita alcohol consumption fell by 6.6%. While this decline in consumption was accelerated by Covid, it’s important to also highlight that it is in line with the trend of consumption falling generally in Ireland over the past 20 years. The average alcohol consumption in 2020 was 29.8% lower than the peak of 2001.
Drinks Ireland at Ibec
With the advisers to the government, some of whom are reported to be paid more than €100,000 a year for their expertise, there is little motivation to seek the much cheaper advice of the elderly and retired in how Ireland is being governed.
Most people know deep down in their hearts that the elderly and retired have accumulated (throughout their long lifetimes) more experience and wisdom. But the great goodness of much of this cheap resource of wisdom and experience the elderly and retired have to offer is too often lost to society.
Those hard-working government advisers ought to think a great deal more seriously about what their own long-term futures will be like. They may gain greater empathy and help to keep the elderly and retired appropriately involved in the great lively questions and arguments of the nation.
Every year, approximately 300m farmed animals in the EU live out lives of misery in cramped cages. Sows nurse their piglets in steel crates; rabbits and quail live out their entire lives in barren cages, and ducks and geese are caged and force-fed to produce foie gras. These systems confine, restrict, and prevent animals from expressing their natural behaviours.
Following decades of suffering by billions of farmed animals, the European Parliament last Thursday called for the European Union to end caged farming of animals and ban force-feeding of ducks and geese.
So, I guess we can say that it’s a good day for animal welfare.
However, we should not allow this rare victory for animals to deflect attention away from the fact that hundreds of millions of animals will continue to be farmed intensively throughout the EU, including here in Ireland. Pigs will continue to live short, stressful lives in massive sheds, never seeing the light of day. Chickens will continue to be raised in massive, dimly-lit sheds, never once seeing the sunshine or feeling the rain. Because of the cramped conditions and the absence of outdoor space, these sentient animals have no possibility of expressing any of their natural behavioural needs.
Every time we buy rashers and sausages and every time we buy chicken or a chicken breast (unless it’s labelled organic or free-range), we can be sure of one thing: the animal you will eat will have been raised in a factory farm. If someone tells me that organic chicken and organic sausages are too expensive, I simply say: ‘Don’t eat chickens; don’t eat pigs.’
I propose that Cork City Council bestow the freedom of the city of Cork on Rob Horgan, CEO of Velo Coffee Roasters, for revealing a dirty secret in Irish life: In a news report on the RTÉ website, Mr Horgan said: “Like most Irish businesses, I suppose, we were a bit lazy, and we looked at the UK,” he said. It was very easy, because it’s the same language, we’ve similar habits and similar interests.”
He was referring to to conducting business in foreign countries.
It is refreshing to see an Irish business person being honest and confirm that the English language engenders laziness. Mr Horgan’s honesty is to be applauded.
Speaking the English language did not stop the Irish economy from collapsing in 2008 and having to be bailed out by the IMF two years later. The laziness that Mr Horgan referred to might have been part of the reason why the economy collapsed in the first place. There is no organic link between the English language and economic success.
Seanán Ó Coistín
It is very hypocritical of politicians around the world to gather together at summits.
They are flying around the world to different countries and when they arrive they do not have to quarantine.
Ordinary people are restricted from entering certain countries.
Would you consider a letters page (or even half page) in your sports section for sport related letters only?
There’s a huge amount of interest across a wide variety of sports, with many of us readers looking for an outlet for our views — regardless of how warped these might appear to others.
It’s generally what we used to discuss in pubs and barbers shops.