New alcohol laws put in place to tackle Ireland’s binge drinking problem

New minimum prices on some alcoholic beverages will effectively ban the low-cost sales of alcoholic products.

The proposed law of a minimum unit pricing of 10 cent per gram of alcohol will mainly affect drinks with higher alcohol content levels and the majority of alcohol products will not be impacted at all.

The minimum costs under the new rules will work out as follows:

  • A 500 ml can of Guinness — €1.66
  • 750 ml bottle of Jacob’s Creek classic Chardonnay — €7.52
  • 700 ml bottle of Gordon’s dry gin — €20.71
  • 700 ml bottle of Smirnoff Ice — €20.71
  • 700 ml bottle of Jameson whiskey — €22.09
  • 500 ml can of Dutch Gold – €1.58

Minister for Health Simon Harris said: “This is about targeting the cheapest drinks which have high alcohol content and … we all noted it is about ensuring that we are having a particular impact on our younger citizens and the next generation of citizens and decision makers in this country.”

According to figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in 2015, nearly a quarter (23%) of Ireland’s young people aged between 15 and 24 binge drank at least once a week. In that study, binge drinking was classified as drinking six or more units of alcohol in one sitting.

 

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Sixteen percent of those who drink alcohol, stated that they have binge drank at least once a week, which is an increase from 13.7 percent the previous year.  This is well above the EU average of 5.6 percent in 2014.

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There is a significant difference between the percentage of Irish males and females who engage in binge drinking. In 2014,  just under one in six (15.5 percent) Irish women aged 18 to 24 engaged in binge drinking at least once a week, which is the highest rate in the EU, and well above the EU average of 4.3 percent. However, the male average was much higher at 26.8 percent for 18 to 24 year olds that same year, which was more than double the EU average of 11.7 percent.

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The proposed alcohol laws will most likely affect these statistics, as young people in Ireland may need to switch to cheaper beverages with lower alcohol contents, or engage in binge drinking less frequently.

By Alison Egan

Top Five traditions for St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland

St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is one of celebration and fun, a time to spend together with friends and family and the one day you’re allowed to break lent. St. Patrick’s Day is a day filled with traditions and superstitions. St Patrick’s Day in Ireland is a day to celebrate our heritage and be proud to be Irish.

  1. The Parade

Every Irish household knows about the St. Patricks day parade, and if they don’t they are not truly Irish! If you are not going to attend the parade then you are most likely sitting at home watching it on the television. Every year, RTE film the parade from start to finish. David Fallon who blogged live from the parade last year describes the parade in his own words, “I remember an Irish wolfhound the size of a bungalow trotting in front of the tooting Boston bands, and youngsters peering over their parents’ head via makeshift ladders. Everyone in the crowd had two things in common- green gear and smiles”.

  1. Themes

Each year the parade is based around a specific theme that is evident throughout the parade. In 2014 the theme was ‘Let’s Make History’. This year the theme will explore the ‘Present’ with the theme for 2016 being ‘Future’.

  1. Céilí dance

Céilí dancing is a popular form of folk dancing that is practiced predominantly in the Gaeltacht areas. But around St.Patrick’s day schools across the country begin to hold Céilí dances and teach the students popular Céilí dances.

  1. Music

The culture of Irish music is being forgotten along with the Irish Language. St. Patrick’s Day is vital for the survival of Irish folk music. The Pogues and The Dubliners version of Irish Rover is a traditional St Patrick’s day song along with “Some say the Devil is Dead” written by Derek Warfield, who is an Irish Singer, songwriter and the founding member of the music group the Wolfe Tones. “Molly Malone” and “The Fields of Athenry” are two very popular Irish songs that are sung or played in the majority of Irish pubs on St. Patrick’s Day.

  1. Drinking

St. Patrick’s Day is the one day of the year when it is considered acceptable to get very drunk. Family members gather together to have dinner and a few pints in pubs across Ireland to chat about the Parade and hear bands play traditional Irish Music.

St. Patrick’s Day is a very sociable day, family member’s gather to attend the parade. There are a lot of activities taking place on St. Patrick’s Day including; face painting, many performances by hip-hop groups as well as traditional Céilí dancing. The day begins with getting the kids dressed up for the parade, but ends with a few pints of Guinness in the local pub.

By Hannan Raisuni