Time to tackle Irish drink culture
Sir, – Do we give in to apathy and depression and accept what we read in the articles “Alcohol action plan talks deferred” and “Delivery of mental health plan ‘slow and inconsistent’ – report” (Home News, July 18th)?
In the past decade thousands of Irish families suffered the death of a much-loved son, daughter, brother, sister, father, mother, aunt, uncle, nephew or niece in circumstances where alcohol use was a strong contributing factor. Have we faced our problems and spoken about our pain? Do those who promote the consumption of alcohol understand the devastation our families are trying to live with? It might ease the suffering a little if our Government would take immediate steps to reduce sales of alcohol. Many noble individuals have decided to “take the pledge” or join a support group and accept the necessary help to cut out alcohol altogether, but more needs to be done so that everyone can benefit from cultural change.
If we tackle the excessive consumption of alcohol billions of euro could be saved in health costs. Some of this money could be offered to the GAA, the IRFU, the FAI and others who worry about losing money if alcohol advertising is curbed. There would also be fewer alcohol-fuelled crimes and a lesser number of people having to spend time in prison. The savings from this could be redirected to job creation in other areas.
Are we putting too much energy into competitive sports and not enough into the hospitality industry? Pubs and restaurants need to be welcoming places where people find friendship, a listening ear and a nice atmosphere. The same applies when we have family celebrations at home. Emphasis could be placed on sampling a wide variety of favourite non-alcoholic beverages along with moderate use of alcohol and plenty of tasty food.
Bring back the storytellers and renew the art of conversation. Grants could be made available for bartenders to engage in part-time studies to help them understand their customers and to enhance what they have learnt from the school of life. They may be able at times to encourage a healthy control of drinking habits; good social norms protect us.
Our young people need to be nurtured towards maturity and not exploited for profit. We need to think rationally and take responsibility for promoting moderation so that all our citizens are valued and have the opportunity to enjoy healthy relaxation and a safer society. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Diarmuid O’Gorman entirely misses the point of my letter of July 17th. I am not blaming our nation’s alcohol abuse on our young population, nor am I scapegoating them.
Rather, our young are victims of a relentless drive to portray alcohol as a must-have to be considered cool and sophisticated. The facts, as portrayed by recent events in the Phoenix Park and across our cities and towns on a weekly basis, are the complete opposite. The carnage caused by alcohol abuse, particularly amongst our young, is immense. The number of road deaths, suicides and stabbings points to this. – Yours, etc,