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

A helping hand or a cleanup act?

 As the government publishes the Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injection Facilities) Bill 2017, Louise Carroll hears both sides of debate over whether Ireland should welcome its first injecting facility.

Should Ireland reintroduce capital punishment?

When first given the motion, “Should capital punishment be reintroduced to Ireland?” I thought I would find myself on the argument against reinstatement. However when I sat down to actually think about it, I felt that in certain circumstances it should be.

The death penalty is a very contentious issue. In countries which still utilise it, most notably the United States, it is very rarely far from controversy.  “Wrongful conviction” pleas are a common occurrence in criminal cases which result in the death penalty. Famous cases include the Anthony Davis case and that of Lee Harvey Oswald.

This is one of the main reasons why I feel that capital punishment should be reintroduced to Ireland, but only in certain circumstances. I do feel that the majority of criminals should have to serve the full duration of the sentence handed down to them. I also think a life sentence should mean life in prison, not just 25 years with the possibility of early release.

However, if the case arises where a person shows no regard for human life on a grand scale, and tries to destroy as many as possible, I think a life sentence may not be enough. In cases of terrorism or mass murder, the death penalty should be an option as a judicial sentence.

Hypothetically speaking, (I stress “hypothetically”) if someone planted a bomb, or began shooting amongst the crowd on Grafton Street on a busy afternoon, they are showing blatant disregard for the lives of others.  They are trying to damage as many lives as they can, not just directly, but indirectly also.

When convicted, the maximum sentence that can currently be handed down to that person in the Republic of Ireland is a life sentence.  Why, as tax payers, should we have to pay to keep that person in prison? We are paying for their food, water, shelter and well-being for as long as they are behind bars.

They are a clear danger to society, with no chance of ever being released. This should surely be a clear call for the reintroduction of the death penalty.  As stated earlier, I feel the majority of prisoners should have to serve their time in full.  The length of their sentence should accurately reflect the severity of their crime so they have the time to reflect upon what they did.

A (hypothetical) mass murderer or terrorist isn’t going to be affected by their time behind bars. They should face the death penalty so that the State can wipe their hands of them and not have to support them in any way.