Alcohol and the ‘night-time economy’

A trail of damage and destroyed lives

Sir, – In a report published this week, The Sale of Alcohol Bill (2022): An Analysis of Costs and Benefits, Prof Tom Babor warned that increased access to alcohol in pursuit of a “night-time economy” will increase risks of alcohol-related disease, injuries, crime, public disorder, and domestic violence.

Many cities in the UK, the EU and Australia have experienced epidemics of public intoxication following policy changes that were intended, just like the Sale of Alcohol Bill, to attract adults and youth to social and cultural events but succeeded in attracting youth out for a night of heavy drinking.

Introduction of this legislation in Ireland is particularly problematic because of Ireland’s continued heavy reliance on both alcohol consumption and binge-drinking.

Over a third (37 per cent) of those aged 15 to 24 who drink have an alcohol disorder.


One in 10 babies are born in Ireland with some form of foetal alcohol disorder, with an estimated 600 having the most severe effects on their brains.

Ireland has over 1,000 alcohol- related cancers every year, including the most common cancer types, such as bowel cancer and female breast cancer, and the risk of developing cancer increases substantially the more alcohol is consumed.

At least 200,000 children in Ireland are currently growing up with the trauma of parental problem alcohol use and a further 400,000 adults are living with its legacy.

All of this remains largely invisible to citizens – unnamed and unexamined as the alcohol industry ploughs inexorably on leaving a trail of damage and destroyed lives.

In order to avoid the mistakes of other countries where the promotion of the night-time economy has significantly increased harms from alcohol, the Sale of Alcohol Bill should be revised. – Yours, etc,