We’re paying the tab for our costly booze culture

  • Post category:News

There is no doubt we have a very unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Is this another result of both the Celtic Tiger and its demise?

By Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan in The Irish Mirror

We used to have a sociable pub culture where people went for a drink at the weekend, met up with friends, neighbours, family, had a chat and generally there were limits.

Now the pub is struggling and instead sales in off-licences, garages, supermarkets have taken over with the club culture for some generations.

The result – as a nation, we are drinking far more with some very serious consequences. The statistics are staggering and frightening.

Alcohol related harm costs Ireland more than €3billion a year, some €1.2billion on alcohol-related crime and the remainder on health related issues. In individual terms this means each Irish person is contributing more than €3,000 annually to the cost.

Alcohol plays a major role in crimes like public order offences, assault, murders, rape and sexual assault – 50% of those who committed murder were under the influence of alcohol when committing the murder and alcohol contributed to 97% of public order offences.

The harm is not just related to the individual in question but affects the family and the community.

A very sad statistic – 10% of Irish children say their lives have been badly affected by their parents’ drinking and we know parental drinking accounts for a very significant number of child abuse cases.

There are 2,000 Irish people in hospital beds today due to abuse and misuse of alcohol while every seven hours someone dies from an alcohol-related illness in Ireland.

We know the role of both alcohol and drugs in suicide particularly in the suicide of young men. The medical profession tell us there is an alarming increase in the number of young people presenting with serious liver disease due to excessive drinking.

This has been fuelled by below cost selling, special offers, easy availability of alcohol, binge-drinking culture – drinking with the sole purpose of getting drunk.

We have to take this much more seriously than we are – we know what to do, it’s time to do it.