Posts Tagged 'alcohol'

A New Approach Needed For Alcohol Licensing

This post has been updated and moved to the blog’s new domain,, and you can find it here.

The attitude toward alcohol of many people in Ireland is, unfortunately, an irresponsible, unhealthy and antisocial one. We have some of the highest rates of  binge drinking and alcohol-related violence in Europe, yet perhaps the greater problem is that the entire basis on which our government attempts to ‘tackle’ drinking problems, from the intoxicating liquor bill of 1927 to its most recent amendment last year, has been to forego the carrot in favour of the stick, and ‘crack down’ on excessive drinking rather than encourage people to drink more responsibly. This view is not just held by the government itself, but also by opposition parties who routinely compete to look tougher on binge drinking and alcohol problems, with rarely a whisper on how to deal with them as the social and public health issues which they are. It is this fundamental misunderstanding, and even denial, of the realities of the situation by every political party in the country that has led to increasingly short-sighted and counter-productive attempts to address the problems.

We are in dire need of a new approach to the matter of alcohol licensing and alcohol laws, and how they affect the attitude the public has towards drinking. We must avoid the overly-simple view of young people’s attitudes towards alcohol that dominate current debate and look at the facts as they are to come up with a solution that accepts the realities of our current situation rather than glosses over them. Above all, we have to accept that there is no quick fix for the alcohol-related problems affecting our society and that it could be a generation before any truly progressive reform brings us to where we need to be. Our society and our culture will need a seismic shift, and that can only be achieved by a similar shift in the way in which the government approaches our problems.

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