McDowell warns of drink and drugs culture


The Minister for Justice has warned against the Ibiza Uncovered culture of drink, drugs and sex.

Mr McDowell, who told the party conference that "the capacity to drink yourself to stupefaction is no gift", warned that everyone bore a responsibility for Ireland's drink and drugs culture. Parents had a responsibility for the education and control of their children and "cannot put it all on the State". He also reiterated his intent to reform the law to counter underage drinking, public disorder and drink-related crime.

"Unfortunately we live in a world where the Ibiza Uncovered syndrome, a youth culture is being sold on television that it's cool to get pissed and get laid", Mr McDowell told reporters later, referring to a reality TV series following young people on holidays in the Mediterranean.

He criticised the drinks industry for failing to observe its voluntary code of practice in advertising and said that "something has to be done about it". He cited a beer advert which "suggests to impressionable young men that the ideal nightclub is a place where Carlsberg would run it and everything would be available to them. That's clearly putting sexual prowess and drinking into the same frame. You're not allowed do that in relation to alcohol advertising under the voluntary code." The law would be reformed to effectively counter underage drinking by making proof of age mandatory for younger drinkers and banning underage drinkers from public houses altogether, he said. During the debate, one delegate, Ms Cait Kane, warned against rushing towards a mandatory national identity system, something that "no totalitarian regime exists without".

Mr McDowell said he would "massively" strengthen Garda powers to enforce the underage drinking law and the law obliging publicans not to allow person to become drunk on their premises.

The Mayor of Waterford, Cllr Oliver Cleary, suggested that all licences for extended opening hours should include the cost of having gardaí on duty. The Minister said he would consider such a proposal.