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Temple Bar during last year's festivities. Earth cam

"I think they should stay away" - Minister on St Patrick's Day drunkeness

Michael Ring says that excessive drinking should not spoil the celebrations.

TOURISM MINISTER MICHAEL Ring says people should “stay away” from St Patrick’s Day celebrations if they plan to get excessively drunk.

The junior minister officially launched the festival programme this week and in doing so argued for a drunkness-free celebration.

“I don’t like the way these people are coming along spoiling it for everyone,” he said. “When you look around people and communities put in a lot of effort.”

Drink is a fine thing when it’s taken in moderation but what we’re going to have to do is make it like it is with drink driving where excessive drinking is just not acceptable.

Ring argues that 140,000 people visited Ireland during the course of the St. Patrick’s Day festival last year and making sure they spread a positive message when they return is vital.

The minister disagrees that St Patrick’s day has become associated with drinking in other parts of the world, adding that celebrations in Ireland have been peaceful over the past few years.

“We’re very lucky that in every corner of the world people will be celebrating St. Patrick’s day,” he says. “It’s a lovely day, a family occasion and luckily enough in the past few years we’ve seen a mainly peaceful environment.”

The minister’s comments echo the ethos of drink-fee events that are  being planned for Dublin and Limerick this St. Patrick’s Day.

Culture group Happenings are organising live music celebrations that they say will act as a “beerless bunker” in Temple bar’s Meeting House Square and the Milk Market in Limerick.

“This isn’t an anti-booze event,” says founder Peter O’Brien. “Paddy’s Day Unlocked is simply about providing a cultural space showcasing the best of Irish talent as an alternative to getting ‘locked’.”

People will be charged €5 to enter the square on the day with children under 12 being admitted free-of-charge.

Read: This was Temple Bar at the height of things last night >

Read: In full: Where our ministers are going for St Patrick’s Day… >

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