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 DRINK! The Father Mathew Thread

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PostSubject: DRINK! The Father Mathew Thread   Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:09 am

Dermot Ahern says he hopes a new Bill published today will significantly reduce excessive drinking. Under the 2008 Intoxicating Liqour Bill, gardaí will have new powers to seize alcohol from anyone who appears to be under-age.

Off-license opening hours will be curtailed: they will have to shut at 10pm. Tougher restrictions on the sale and promotion of reduced price alcohol will also be introduced. It is hoped that the new Bill will be passed before the Dáil's summer recess.

Minister Ahern said while he was not condemning drinking, levels of alcohol consumption must be significantly reduced.

I am very fond of the Sibín, but I worry about the livers of friends and relations,when nurses I know say that terminal cirrhosis is kicking in with 30 year olds when it used to be 50 year olds. In honour of the publishing of the bill, I served up some Shirley Temples earlier.

Without drink, would we be miserable sinners instead of happy ones?

Will the bill work, and if not, what do you think should be done? Something tells me hitting the price might be the only thing that migh work.
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PostSubject: Re: DRINK! The Father Mathew Thread   Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:37 am

cactus flower wrote:
Dermot Ahern says he hopes a new Bill published
today will significantly reduce excessive drinking. Under the 2008
Intoxicating Liqour Bill, gardaí will have new powers to seize alcohol
from anyone who appears to be under-age.

They'll have a field day on Portmarnock Beach next sunny weekend.

Quote :
Off-license
opening hours will be curtailed: they will have to shut at 10pm.
Tougher restrictions on the sale and promotion of reduced price alcohol
will also be introduced. It is hoped that the new Bill will be passed
before the Dáil's summer recess.

I am concerned we are heading towards increased levels of prohibition. It does not work. Never did. Never will.
Quote :

Minister Ahern said while he was not condemning drinking, levels of alcohol consumption must be significantly reduced.

I hope he points that out to his back bench buddy from Cork
Quote :

I am very fond of the Sibín, but I worry about the livers of friends
and relations,when nurses I know say that terminal cirrhosis is kicking
in with 30 year olds when it used to be 50 year olds. In honour of the
publishing of the bill, I served up some Shirley Temples
earlier.

And apparently getting worse by the day amongst thirtysomething women.

Quote :
Without drink, would we be miserable sinners instead of happy ones?

The excuse for drinking 50 years ago was that we were poor, and had nothing else to do. Doesn't stack up, does it.

Quote :
Will
the bill work, and if not, what do you think should be done? Something
tells me hitting the price might be the only thing that migh
work.

The hard bit. I hope the bill does not work in it's current form - as I said earlier, it's too prohibtionary and I think that's dodgy.
I'd rather tackle the 6 year olds dragging bags of red wine into school for teacher at Christmas. How bad a lesson is that...
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PostSubject: Re: DRINK! The Father Mathew Thread   Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:44 am

Will it work?

No, not at all.

It's our attitude towards alcohol consumption which needs to change not the laws.
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PostSubject: Re: DRINK! The Father Mathew Thread   Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:52 am

cookiemonster wrote:


It's our attitude towards alcohol consumption which needs to change not the laws.

For example ? People can identify with examples... as you know.

EDIT: Apologies, I mean a readily identifiable example of attitude towards alcohol which may be contributing to the problem. I think it might be worth exploring the attitude thing.


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PostSubject: Re: DRINK! The Father Mathew Thread   Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:57 am

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
cookiemonster wrote:


It's our attitude towards alcohol consumption which needs to change not the laws.

For example ? People can identify with examples... as you know.

Drinking being THE past time. That it's acceptable to drink AS much as possible as often as possible. That the consequences of excess alcohol comsumption are disregarded as "ah sure he was drunk" etc.

The Taboo towards alcohol among younger children is also a factor in play, how many young lads got totally hammered on their 18th birthday so much that they can't remember how they got home, of if before their 18th that first time they drank under their own steam? It's not a healthy attitude and it leads on to unhealthy behaviour.
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PostSubject: Re: DRINK! The Father Mathew Thread   Thu Jun 05, 2008 2:27 am

cookiemonster wrote:
EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
cookiemonster wrote:


It's our attitude towards alcohol consumption which needs to change not the laws.

For example ? People can identify with examples... as you know.

Drinking being THE past time. That it's acceptable to drink AS much as possible as often as possible. That the consequences of excess alcohol comsumption are disregarded as "ah sure he was drunk" etc.

I would say that is becoming old fashioned, and is not an acceptable excuse anymore.

Quote :
The Taboo towards alcohol among younger children is also a factor in play, how many young lads got totally hammered on their 18th birthday so much that they can't remember how they got home, of if before their 18th that first time they drank under their own steam? It's not a healthy attitude and it leads on to unhealthy behaviour.

I'm not clear on what you mean there Cookie. What taboo is there regarding dishing drink up to teenagers ?
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PostSubject: Re: DRINK! The Father Mathew Thread   Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:18 pm

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
Quote :
The Taboo towards alcohol among younger children is also a factor in play, how many young lads got totally hammered on their 18th birthday so much that they can't remember how they got home, of if before their 18th that first time they drank under their own steam? It's not a healthy attitude and it leads on to unhealthy behaviour.

I'm not clear on what you mean there Cookie. What taboo is there regarding dishing drink up to teenagers ?
I think he's referring to the all-or-nothing approach that many parents have in Ireland. You can't drink until you're 18, but once that magical day has come, you can do whatever you want. On the continent, however, children are introduced to alcohol slowly, with a small glass of watered down wine with their dinner when they're 4.

If parents educate their children to have a responsible attitude to alcohol, rather than having it as something prohibited - which leads to people trying to have as much as possible whenever they do get their hands on it, an attitude which continues into adulthood - we'd have a far healthier population.
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PostSubject: Re: DRINK! The Father Mathew Thread   Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:35 pm

TheBear wrote:
EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
Quote :
The Taboo towards alcohol among younger children is also a factor in play, how many young lads got totally hammered on their 18th birthday so much that they can't remember how they got home, of if before their 18th that first time they drank under their own steam? It's not a healthy attitude and it leads on to unhealthy behaviour.

I'm not clear on what you mean there Cookie. What taboo is there regarding dishing drink up to teenagers ?
I think he's referring to the all-or-nothing approach that many parents have in Ireland. You can't drink until you're 18, but once that magical day has come, you can do whatever you want. On the continent, however, children are introduced to alcohol slowly, with a small glass of watered down wine with their dinner when they're 4.

If parents educate their children to have a responsible attitude to alcohol, rather than having it as something prohibited - which leads to people trying to have as much as possible whenever they do get their hands on it, an attitude which continues into adulthood - we'd have a far healthier population.


Truth be told, I don't buy into that altogether. Young people in Ireland are going out to get drunk from the early teens onwards. Junior Cert night the footpaths are littered with prone bodies. It is not just an Irish thing, the UK is similar, although we are worst in Europe now for drink and drugs. It is also creeping in in Spain, where young people generally despise drunks as cretins.

The drinking pattern was already there in Ireland in the 80s and then the money flowed in, drink was deregulated by extending pub hours and the unregulated growth of off licences. Bertie was famously seen every week in a paper with a pint in hand and attempts at tighter regulation were jumped on by the pub lobby.
Drink and drug use are intertwined, with people taking one to keep awake and the other to calm down and getting into crazy patterns of self medication.

There is a pattern of behaviour which involves drinking in order to get drunk, and thinking that this is the norm for enjoying oneself. I have asked people I know who do this why they think it is the case here in Ireland and they have not had answers. It may be too complex for us to be able to work out.

I think I remember reading that price increase is the most effective measure to reduce drinking and smoking - also banning adverts. I agree with EVM that the attitude is changing a bit. But I am dubious about this Bill that looks like duplication as it is already illegal to drink out of doors and serve drink to minors. I suspect window dressing of the same sort as the asbo legislation - cost free legislation so that the politicians can say they are doing something when they are not.
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PostSubject: Re: DRINK! The Father Mathew Thread   Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:50 pm

Isn't the heart of the problem that we are talking not about over-consumption but addiction? A consultant from St Patrick's hospital has estimated that more than 50% of the alcohol industry's profits come from 10% of drinkers - the same 10% who are admitted alcoholics. For that situation to change and for the alcohol industry to maintain its profits, it needs more people to drink at increased levels to compensate for any reduction in alcoholism.

There is a big vested interest in playing down the realities - as the people running the feotal alcohol syndrome awareness campaign have said. They are astounded at the relative silence with which their research is greeted - and yet the impact on babies is quite clearly horrific. The Irish FAS group are saying that much of what is being referred to as the autism epidemic is more likely in many instances to be FAS. It's become apparent that it is not just the babies of women who are heavy drinkers who are affected but those who drink even small amounts fairly regularly. Even one binge in early pregnancy can cause FAS - which affects people according to the amount of alcohol consumed. The alochol lobby does not want this information to get out, however. Young women are a huge and increasingly lucrative new market. Many of my daughters 18 year old friends are already seriously hardened drinkers - who will drink a half a bottle of vodka before they go out, just to get them started for the night.

Solutions? I think there should be sanctions rather than prohibitions. It should be illegal to be drunk in charge of children. It should be a disciplinary matter to turn up with a hangover to work - as thousands do every day. You can't stop people from drinking or introduce laws to curb it but you can legitimately say to people that if they choose to drink to excess, other people are entitled to protect themselves from the consequences of that drinking. In the work situation, hangovers cause people to be bad-tempered, to have impaired judgment and to limit their level of competence - and a lot of absenteeism too. This is having a serious affect on our overall functioning as a society - albeit one that is not being acknowledged.

The big question I have is this: what is alcoholism? Why is this not a better researched issue - why does it result in the compulsion to drink? There must surely be an explanation for it. With all that medical science has been able to accomplish it seems unlikely that it would not be possible to find the answer to this.

The idea that it is down to the individual doesn't wash. Anybody who drinks enough alcohol over time can become an alcoholic. The AA approach to abstinence only works for a very small number of people - good luck to them but they dont have any scientific answers to this problem.
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PostSubject: Re: DRINK! The Father Mathew Thread   Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:49 pm

One thing I have read about binge drinking is that it causes a chemical euphoria in the brain, rather than steady tippling that is chemically depressing.
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PostSubject: Re: DRINK! The Father Mathew Thread   Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:25 am

There is a peculiar Irishness to the way we drink and more especially to the way the alcohol culture has developed in Ireland over the years (wouldn't that make a fascinating book? Hmmm)

Early on, I don't think we were any different to the Danes or the Wikings or the Gauls in our drink and be merry and pass out beside a dissatisfied wench practices.

However, I think - and this is purely my own conjecture, that from that ostensibly common ground, things have changed substantially.

The Irish drink to avoid responsibility. We drank when we were poor because it helped us to forget that we were poor. We drank when we were rich because it helped us to forget that our lives had no purpose because we were rich. Now we will drink because we've lost that wealth.

The Irish are always looking over the hill, longing for something greener and I believe that if as a race we could channel that longing into action, we could achieve real greatness. We were poor, we were oppressed, we were deprived and landless and unfree and never at peace. Ireland was never at peace - when she wasn't fighting the offenders she was fighting within. Other countries have had similar experiences (I think of the Poles, whose drinking habits are not too unlike ours and some of the ex Russian states).

And all the time we deserved a drink to take us away from our misery or to celebrate our woes. Why? Because we'd rather not take responsibility for where we are, we'd prefer to lament and argue and dream - because we're good at that. See the preponderance of pubs in the plays of the literary revival.

The morphing of the temperance movement into its current form is symbolic of that refusal to take responsibility and to pass blame. The Pioneer Total Abstinence Association is not about addiction (where its motives would be more noble, imho) but it's about avoiding an issue. How did we get to the stage where we think it's okay to fill eleven and twelve year olds with misinformation and peer-pressurize them into an unhealthy attitude towards alcohol as a precondition for making their confirmation?

It galls me to see photos of people in the local paper who have received their gold or silver pin - what is to be proud of in abstaining from a substance that is of itself innocuous? We know that it's possible to drink safely whereas it's not possible to take any controlled drug safely.
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PostSubject: Re: DRINK! The Father Mathew Thread   Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:37 am

The Pioneers may have had their roots in a genuine attempt to deal with alcoholism but its current role is very different.

My niece and her friend slept over here recently and one was in a tizzy that she wouldn't be able to eat the ham because I'd cooked it in cider (with bayleaves, worth trying) and the other was worried because now that she'd taken her pledge, she'd never be able to eat cheesecake (Baileys I'm presuming) again. That's gross manipulation of children and scaremongering and while I'm not suggesting that they were told they couldn't have alcohol (even with the alcohol boiled out of it!) in any form, the taking of the pledge creates the notion that alcohol is something evil that should be avoided when to do so avoids the real problem which is at the heart of things; in my opinion, the innately Irish characteristic of burying one's head in a pint rather than dealing with stuff.

Abstinence and alcohol addiction are two extremes but are on the same spectrum - unhealthy ways of refusing to take control made manifest in a disease. In the middle is the gamut of ways in which people choose to include alcohol in their lives, from an occasional drink, to a daily glass of wine to mindless three day inebriation for the weekend.

In the States laws are strict about underage drinking and are enforced. The laws are not enforced here.
In continental Europe, kids grow up with a glass of watered wine at the table and they learn to respect alcohol rather than fear or crave it. Or feel guilty about it. And we're good at guilt in this country.

I have to ask what need is met in the individual and the society in choosing to be paralzed by alcohol? In all aspects of life there is a payoff. On micro level we see young people go out on the weekend with the deliberate intention of getting locked and on the macro level we see a society that does the same thing. We are not a people who are predisposed to being responsible. And we see that in the level of tolerance we show not just towards alcohol abuse, but towards a myriad other abuses of people, communities, institutions and nations.
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PostSubject: Re: DRINK! The Father Mathew Thread   Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:40 am

So what's the payoff? It's the same as the one that will be offered a dozen times today in every district court in the country "but he was extremely intoxicated, Guard. He's a different man when he's sober." And the Garda will nod and say "yes Judge." You can get away without making the hard choices if you're drunk. If not an acceptable defence, it's often an acceptable mitigation.

I have to work - but will be back with a more detailed explanation later.
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PostSubject: Re: DRINK! The Father Mathew Thread   Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:43 am

Two more things to consider - availability and lack of sunlight.
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