Saturday 19 August 2017

Arthur's Day binges aside, it is time to tell the sober truth

Inflating the status of alcoholism and calling three drinks a binge helps 
absolutely no one, says Jason Walsh

The remnants of Arthur' s Day in Temple Bar last year.
The remnants of Arthur' s Day in Temple Bar last year.

Jason Walsh

There's no need to mourn the passing of Arthur's Day, but Ireland's obsession with alcohol consumption is worse than the disease.

When I worked in Temple Bar, I trudged through urine-soaked streets each and every morning. It wasn't fun, and I still remember pushing open the gate and door of my office using my foot instead of my hands. Not being an aficionado of Berlin nightclubs, I had never seen a woman defecate in public until I rented my office in Dublin's notorious party district. I guess it's what you call a learning experience.

Even less extreme forms of behaviour - the infamous stag and hen parties for instance - point towards overconsumption of alcohol, but what lessons are we learning? Guinness announced last week that there will be no more Arthur's Day events; the company rather implausibly denying that it has bent to the will of its critics who said the marketing scheme encouraged binge drinking.

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