Mine’s a double-standard

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CIARAN HANCOCK in The Irish Times

On Wednesday, Pernod Ricard said the number of visitors to its Jameson whiskey facilities in Cork and Dublin rose by 16 per cent in the first six months of the year to 160,000.

They are among the country ’s top tourist attractions and the figures highlight the curious relationship we have with alcohol. Minister for state Róisín Shortall wants to jack up the levies on off-licence alcohol sales in a bid to curb the availability of cheap booze.

Fair enough, you might say. Yet just 14 months ago we had the unedifying spectacle of the Queen of England being traipsed around the Guinness Storehouse on her historic visit to Ireland.

Shortly afterwards, US president Barack Obama was brought to Hayes ’s pub in Moneygall, Co Offaly, to neck a couple of pints of stout.

What message did those images send out?

Great play is also made of how Irish whiskey exports are booming and Richard Bruton went to great lengths to secure Diageo ’s  €153 million investment in its St James ’s Gate brewery.

Trying to figure out where the Government stands on alcohol is enough to leave you with a hangover.