FESTIVE revellers should abandon the 12 pubs of Christmas custom as it "exacerbates binge drinking" according to an alcohol awareness group established by the drinks industry.
The seasonal pub crawl has gained huge popularity in recent years, but it "needs to be dropped", MEAS insisted.
"I would appeal to individuals to accept their responsibility to treat alcohol sensibly and responsibly," the group's chief executive Fionnuala Sheehan said.
The 12 pubs phenomenon -- in which groups of revellers go from bar to bar consuming a drink in each -- feeds into the cultural problem associated with how some people drink in Ireland, she added.
"In overall terms, we drink less often in Ireland than our European counterparts, but when we drink we tend to drink more and at a faster pace.
"Clearly, the 12 pubs practice exacerbates this binge drinking pattern and this style of drinking," Ms Sheehan said.
MEAS, standing for Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society, is a registered charity and was established in 2002 by the alcohol manufacturers, distributors and licensed trade associations.
It acts as an independent, not-for-profit company promoting the responsible use of alcohol. It is echoing the voices of some publicans who have said that they were growing tired of large groups of drunk revellers engaged in the 12 pubs crawl.
The owner of the Swan pub on Dublin city's Aungier Street last week said he had banned the custom from his premises. He said he found the new tradition a sloppy one, with the crawls being badly organised.
"Arthur's Day is a properly run event -- but there is none of that on the 12 pubs," he said.