Give up drink for Lent, suggests Bishop Éamonn Walsh

Abstinence ‘gives the body a rest and makes economic sense’ says Dublin’s auxiliary bishop

People might give up alcohol for Lent, or cut down on their intake, Dublin’s Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Éamonn Walsh has suggested.

“It makes good health sense, it gives the body a rest and it makes economic sense,” he said.

Bishop Walsh also suggested that the money saved might be donated to a hospice, Sr Consilio’s Cuan Mhuire centre or St James Camino at Enfield – both of which help people with addiction issues.

It would be a good idea for those who did give up alcohol for Lent or reduce intake to do so with a friend, he said, for support, “like going for a run”.

Bishop Walsh expressed concern at changing attitudes to drink generally whereby, rather than social drinking, nowadays people were just “getting out of it”.

He also addressed the issue of below-cost selling. He recognised that not all who wanted a minimum price for alcohol did so for the same motives, but he recalled the story of a man who told him he couldn’t afford heroin one day, so he bought three bottles of vodka instead.

He remembered how, when the price of whiskey was increased in the 1990s, its consumption went down.

Where sponsorship by drink companies of sporting events was concerned, his primary concern was with the influence on young people. “They associate it with their heroes . . . it influences their behaviour.”

Bishop Walsh said he wants to see the link between sport and alcohol cut.

He said he noticed drink ads in the Aviva Stadium during last Saturday’s Ireland-France rugby game.

“I remember when Lucozade was associated with elderly aunts, now it’s a sports drink,” he said.

Trócaire campaign

Meanwhile, the first charity fundraising mobile app in

Ireland

will be available from today, Ash Wednesday, as Trócaire kicks off its annual campaign to raise funds for families affected by drought and hunger in some of the world’s poorest communities. The campaign is the biggest fundraiser on the island and brings in almost €8 million annually.

Built in partnership with JustGiving, the international social platform for giving, the mobile app serves as an online collection box. The Trócaire Box app is available for free on Android and iOS devices.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times

READ MORE