In what many would file in the “Uh, too little, too late” category, the Irish government acknowledged that the country had a “damaging attitude to alcohol” and unveiled minimum prices for alcohol sales in an effort to curb drinking in the country.
A bill is set to be submitted to parliament this month that would take a number of measures to discourage unhealthy drinking habits in the country, including a minimum price of 10 euro cents per gram of alcohol, restricting “happy hours” and banning advertising alcohol near schools, playgrounds, and public transport sites.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar said in a statement, “Four out of ten drinkers typically engage in binge-drinking,” to which the entire world would shrug and say, “Well, yeah. They're Irish.”
Okay, so I suppose the Irish government has a point.
This is the first bill in Ireland to address alcohol as a public health issue; it is an attempt to reduce annual alcohol consumption in the country from 11 liters per person to 9.1 liters by 2020. As per expected, business groups are fighting against it, claiming that the bill doesn't do anything to curb unhealthy drinking and only punishes responsible drinkers. But, well, that's what they were going to say regardless.
We tried to raise the ghost of James Joyce, but he had no comment that we could understand.