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St Patrick's Day link with alcohol must be broken - Shortall

The junior minister said there was a “very close connection between alcohol and our national celebrations”.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

IRELAND MUST ‘BREAK the link’ between St Patrick’s Day celebrations and alcohol, Labour minister Roisín Shortall has said.

She said that there was a “very close connection between alcohol and our national celebrations”, and called for drinking to be sidelined in the run-up to St Patrick’s Day.

Shortall, the Minister of State for drug policy, also hit out at supermarket advertising campaigns linking alcohol to images of Irishness.

She said one supermarket had been “irresponsible” in placing shamrocks on bottles of whiskey and vodka. Shortall told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland:

It’s a matter of concern to a lot of people that there is a very close connection between alcohol and a lot of our national celebrations in this country. It plays a very central role in our lives. We know that St Patrick’s day should be a great day for Ireland, but too often it’s marred by alcohol.

Shortall said that planned legislation introducing new restrictions on alcohol sales and marketing would be brought forward by the middle of 2012.

She confirmed that proposals to ban alcohol sponsorship of sporting and arts events were likely to be included, and said the price of the cheapest alcohol in supermarkets would be increased.

More: Report calls for ban on alcohol sponsorship of sport and festivals>

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Michael Freeman

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