Comment: 'We have a messed-up relationship with drink...but it's time to consider softening this alcohol bill'
It's a tough time of year for some to keep up the morale. October on the calendar, nights drawing in, and once the hour goes back later in the month, it will be dark just after 5pm.
Rural and provincial commuters will again find they are going to and returning from work in the dark. Part-time farmers will find the window of opportunity for chores narrow enough.
For some of us, there is consolation to be had on a high stool with a tall glass and some good company. Right enough, before we go any further, let's all acknowledge that as a nation we have a messed-up relationship with alcohol.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has been arguing for quite some time that we need to call time on "alcohol abuse, misuse and overuse". As Health Minister, he introduced the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill in December 2015, via the Seanad.
It cleared the so-called second stage, but has been stalled at committee stage in the Seanad for a long time. Now it is being reintroduced by current Health Minister Simon Harris, and the Government says it remains a priority.
In many ways, the Government's claim to be able to make law - any law at all - will stand or fall in the coming months on the progress of this piece of legislation. It is broadly backed by Fianna Fáil, who underpin the minority Coalition. But there are deep - largely rural-urban - divisions within Fine Gael on the issue.
It was Fine Gael Senators who blocked the bill at the third, or so-called committee stage, as they went to war on behalf of the business community. The row was over blocking alcohol from sight in the same way as tobacco and cigarettes have disappeared from our view in shops.
The bill also includes a minimum unit price for alcoholic drinks, spelling an end to the €1 per can of beer in many big supermarkets. It also requires strict health and ingredients labelling on alcohol products and introduces marketing and promotion restrictions.