‘THE average Irish adult is drinking the equivalent of a bottle of vodka a week — or downing 482 pints of lager a year.’
Culturally Irish people are renowned as being fond of the ‘craic’ or alcohol as ought to be its correct name. We’re fond of alcohol and the banter and shenanigans that surrounds have a few scoops. When dignitaries visit they are photographed sinking a ‘pint of the black’ as a matter of form. Our social and even religious celebrations revolve around drink and our weekends are often a licence to partake freely.
On the way to the airport this morning I listened to a news report that suggest our overall drinking, while still high, is down 17 percent, but there was a sense of ‘we got it on the run’ to the piece. A number of times over the last few weeks there have been calls for stricter regulations, there are calls to change minimal pricing, there are calls to ban advertising before certain times, to remove the connection between drink and sporting events. Everywhere you turn drink seems to be maligned.
‘You know, it might go the way of smoking.’ I said to the paramour, who snorted, muttered something about the Vintners being close to Mafia. But think about it, alcohol has been moved in supermarkets to its own section, away from the real groceries, off licences are closed earlier than before and are facing introduction of a law that forbids home delivery. Who knows what measure they will think up next.
Is this, do you think, the end of our cultural hooch association? Will drinking eventually be frowned upon the way smoking is now? Can you ever see it happening in your lifetime or will the current boo hiss hooch make the blindest bit of difference to our long-standing entanglement with alcohol.