Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Sunday 10 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C
State of the Nation

Are we about to finally change our attitude to the demon drink?

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

Updated 12.01 pm

DO YOU WANT State of the Nation delivered to your inbox every morning at 9.30am? Sign up to our email alert at the bottom of this story.

Everyone’s talking about…

PastedImage-46095 The classic foreign dignitary with a Guinness shot. Here, Proinsias De Rossa, John Major and John Bruton.

We’ll finally get a look at one of the most hotly contested pieces of legislation in a long time today. Health Minister Leo Varadkar is set to publish the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill with the aim of making it a criminal offence to advertise alcohol irresponsibly.

The debate surrounding the control of alcohol is so contentious that there are even arguments over who can be part of it. The Stop Out-Of-Control drinking campaign in many ways pushed a smart message, but the involvement of Diageo hampered the campaign from the get-go.

And it’s lobbying like this that makes the issue so contentious. With health campaigners, alcohol companies and publicans all pursuing different interests, decisions taken by government in this area are frequently criticised for listening too much to one side.

While a total ban on alcohol sponsorship effectively been ruled out, we can expect some kind of curtailment such as a ban on pitchside alcohol advertising. The banning of alcohol advertising near schools is also something that has been suggested.

Today, we’ll also get the actual numbers behind the proposed minimum alcohol pricing. In practice, we’ll know how much a bottle of wine will be.

This is, of course, in a country that already has the most expensive alcohol in the EU.

Expect to hear the term “missed opportunity” a lot today on this issue.

Meanwhile, the fallout from Monday’s RTÉ Investigates programme continues with gardaí now understood to be examining its content to see if action is needed.


The agenda

  • Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan takes Dáil questions at 9.30am as the issues surrounding religion in school continue to be debated. 
  • The Legal Services Regulation Bill is nearing completion and the Dáil will debate it from 10.45am.
  • Taoiseach Enda Kenny takes Leaders’ Questions at noon.
  • The SocDems motion for a new Independent Anti-Corruption Agency will be debated for the second day from 8.30pm.
  • The Seanad will debate a bill which reforms the laws around assisted decision-making.
  • The Foreign Affairs Committee will get an update on the situation in Palestine at 10am.
  • The Health Committee will hear about medical cards from 2.30pm.  

Inside Leinster House  

It’s not quite inside Leinster House, but Fine Gael general election candidates will be gathering in the Royal Irish Academy, which is a short walk from the Oireachtas, this evening for a private meeting about the party’s election plans.

Frances Fitzgerald is chairing proceedings and the candidates will hear from the Taoiseach, his chief strategist Mark Mortell and the party’s director of elections, which is expected to be confirmed as MEP Brian Hayes.

What the others are saying 

  • The Irish Examiner reports that €15m in humanitarian help from the government will be made available for flood relief.
  • Also on the flooding, The Irish Times says that a new flood-forecasting system is to be established.
  • The Irish Independent reports that Dublin councillor and landlord Anne-Marie Dermody didn’t disclose some assets and voted against social housing developments. 

In case you missed it 

Good day for…

The Social Democrats. Timing is sometimes everything and their private members’ motion to establish a body to investigate and prosecute corruption could not have been timed better.

Bad day for… 

Donald Trump. His proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US has been torn apart by people on all sides of the political spectrum and decried as both unconstitutional and fascist.

On the Twitter machine  

Hitting your rivals where it hurts, right in the taxes.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.