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Dublin: 14°C Sunday 17 October 2021

Do you view a night of heavy drinking as a way to bond with friends?

A report into Ireland’s binge drinking culture found Irish people don’t recognise the problem in themselves.

Image: Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images

IRISH PEOPLE DON’T recognise drinking problems in themselves and can even view it positively.

That’s according to Fergus Finlay, the Chairperson of the Campaign to Stop-Out-Of-Control Drinking.

The campaign was marred by controversy in March when a director from drinking giant Diageo was originally involved, but later stood down.

Following ten months of research and public consultation, the campaign found that almost seven out of 10 Irish people (69%) are concerned about irresponsible drinking, but only 13% believe drinking over government guidelines is drinking irresponsibly.

Finlay said, “People simply don’t recognise the problem in themselves and that’s the biggest barrier.

In fact they are more likely to view a night of heavy drinking positively – for example as a way to form bonds with friends.

The report is calling for a new independent foundation to deliver a 30% reduction in alcohol misuse by 2025.

Binge Drinking 

Over 1.3 million Irish people are defined as binge drinkers by the World Health Organisation.

Publishing the report, Finlay said: “We need to add culture change to the other main policy levers if we are to overcome the scale of the ‘binge’ drinking problem we have in Ireland.

This is a deeply complex issue that has its roots in attitudes and excessive behaviours that have been passed from generation to generation.

As it stands over 1,000 deaths annually in Ireland are drink-related while it’s estimated that the annual cost of alcohol abuse to society is €3.7 billion.

The report recommends that the Foundation to Reduce Alcohol Misuse would run for 10 years and be chaired by a government appointee.

The report states that the foundations core remit would ‘be to coordinate public services, health groups, industry, education institutions and others to implement a wide-ranging set of recommendations focused on changing the nation’s behaviours and attitudes towards alcohol’.

Finlay added that, “Unpicking this issue requires a broader, integrated and whole society approach that, with political backing, we could crack within a generation. But if we are serious about this we need to start now.”

Read: Nearly half of pregnant women in Ireland binge drink>

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