Longer opening hours for pubs and clubs
A chara, – There have been some measures (mooted and actual) undertaken to ameliorate the negative effects of alcohol consumption on our society. The banning of “cheap” alcohol (below-cost selling), the segregation of alcohol in supermarkets, and the recent prohibition of using vouchers to purchase alcohol in supermarkets were all designed to change our attitude and perhaps behaviour regarding the abuse of the “demon drink”.
I am at a loss, in light of the above, to understand why the Minister for Justice sees fit to bring to Cabinet the reported measures which include bringing Sunday trading hours into line with the longer weekday hours, allowing the sale of alcohol at venues which would not normally serve drink, and late-night extension of opening time for clubs (News, February 20th).
Notwithstanding the pressure this last measure would place on our infinitely stretched emergency departments, the proposed measures seem to be a retrograde step in our well- rehearsed battle with alcohol addiction. The Minister’s assertion that we must have a “vibrant and safe night-time economy” should not be accepted without looking to the actual cost of easier access to alcohol, and the toll this has taken, and continues to take, on Irish society. – Yours, etc,