A necessary task to tackle - Irish drinking culture

WHEN it comes to defining the national psyche, the consumption of alcohol dominates. In our literature, our music, and even our visual arts, the ‘pint of plain’ is a constant backdrop.

While we may rail against the depiction in movies and TV of the Irish as a nation of heavy drinkers, there is no doubt that, compared to most other developed countries, we imbibe more than most.

It is little wonder, then, that alcohol claims in the region of 90 deaths per month in Ireland — around 1,000 a year.

Drinking too much is not just the preserve of ‘auld fellas’ as it is one of the few areas of Irish life where there is no generation gap.

One in four deaths of young men aged between 15 and 39 is due to alcohol. This grim statistic is what galvanised the Cork and Kerry Alcohol Strategy Group to launch a campaign this week not only to highlight the dangers of alcohol but to set about a plan to tackle this significant problem in the region.

It is a huge task but also a very necessary one. While legislation to tackle marketing, introduce minimum pricing, and limit the association with sport may go some way to tackling this national disease, only a change in attitudes towards alcohol will really make a difference.

Let us toast the strategy group’s efforts — with a non-alcoholic drink.

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