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Question remains – are drink-sellers qualified?

IRISH Vintners’ Federation CEO Pádraig Cribben (Letters, September 1) did not address my point that the people who dispense alcohol in Ireland are not suitably qualified to do so because they do not hold a recognised pharmaceutical qualification (Letters, August 27) .

If the Responsible Sale of Alcohol programme that Mr Cribben highlighted contains a suitable qualification for the 11,000 people who work in the trade, then I stand corrected.

If not, then this programme is a waste of time and money and is just another smokescreen to mask the so-called respectable sale of a lethal drug.

Check the statistics. Alcohol-related harm costs the economy approx €2.65 million annually; of fatal road traffic accidents, 30% involve alcohol; 20%-30% of suicides have a history of alcohol misuse. Are these not statistics of epidemic proportions?

Neither did Mr Cribben address my concerns about printing the full list of problems – physical, psychological, emotional and social – on the labels of alcoholic beverages. Why not? As for his “concerns” about the irresponsible manner in which off-licences sell drink to minors, the only difference between the controlled environment of the pub and off-licences and supermarkets is the plush upholstery, high stools and a catchy name over the door. The aim is still the same – the sale of a lethal drug called alcohol.

Incidentally, on December 24, 2008 the Irish Examiner carried a letter of mine relating to alcohol abuse. I didn’t notice any comment from any member of the Vintners’ Federation on that occasion. Nothing that Mr Cribben stated in his letter has reassured me the people who will possibly sell alcohol to my children and all other children in this country are qualified to dispense a lethal drug.

Tom Fitzgerald

Four Roads


Co Limerick


It came as quite a surprise to learn that I had been writing my Weekend column in the Irish Examiner for 21 years — how the years have flown by and how the food scene has changed in Ireland over those two decades.A letter from Darina Allen, celebrating 21 years writing for The Irish Examiner

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