Tuesday 17 October 2017

Ciara Kelly: No cheers for our seven drunken nights

Ireland's relationship with drink is very like America's relationship with guns. We won't give it up no matter how much harm it does us

Hitting the bottle: four out of ten of us binge regularly. Photo: Shutterstock
Hitting the bottle: four out of ten of us binge regularly. Photo: Shutterstock

Ciara Kelly

I realise that it's a subject I've discussed before, but this week I'm once again compelled to talk about our dysfunctional relationship with alcohol.

What caught my eye initially was the Healthy Ireland survey published last week, which showed that while we have improved health-wise in certain areas - more people are now non-smokers than actual smokers; 1pc extra of the population every year is embracing an active lifestyle; obesity has plateaued - there are still considerable issues, very notably the fact that the majority of Irish adults continue to drink more than is good for them and way more than adults in other countries.

The survey refers to the fact that the misuse of alcohol in Ireland has been normalised, something that's very apparent if you tell anyone here that an alcohol binge is six units: three pints or more. The usual Irish response to that is derision - as opposed to the polite interest or curiosity you get elsewhere.

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