Sam’s Gala Dunmanway, county Cork.
Via Paeder Brown
Further to eye-popping alcohol off-sales price hikes…
One standard drink in Ireland contains 10 grams of alcohol, so the minimum price for one standard drink will now be €1.
A 12.5% bottle of wine has 74 grams of alcohol and it cannot now be sold for less than €7.40. A bottle of spirit like vodka or whiskey cannot be sold for less than €21. A point to note here is that the price of a bottle of champagne (which cost more than €7.40 in 2021) or fine whiskey (which cost more than €21 in 2021) remains unchanged.
The main issue is that it is a price floor instead of a tax. The HSE believes that “people drink more alcohol if it is cheap. If you raise taxes for alcohol, you are raising the cost of alcohol for everyone. Minimum pricing most impacts people who are drinking alcohol harmfully. It is designed to target the heaviest drinkers who seek the cheapest alcohol, which means it will have the greatest effect among those who experience the most harm.
However, no evidence is provided for these claims. Is it wise or correct for the Government to base an economic policy on the assumptions that price is enough to deter heavy drinkers and that heavy drinkers only seek cheap alcohol?
Yesterday: Can-Kicking Exercise
On 2nd Jan 2L Cullen's Irish Cider was €3.79 in @Aldi. On 3rd Jan it was €1.99 in an effort to flog a product that would be unsellable. On 4th Jan it is €8.36. It will end up in a skip.
Cullens, an Irish Micro brewery, now have a product they can't sell. #rtept
— Ultan McPadden (@UltMcP) January 6, 2022
“This is a tax on the poor – a sin tax”
— TonightVMTV (@TonightVMTV) January 5, 2022
In case you missed it.
VMTV Tonight show.
Further to alarming new year alcohol price hikes – with the cheapest can of beer now €1.70, and a typical bottle of wine no less than €7.40 and a bottle of spirits at least €20.70 – Ian O’Doherty makes a sound case for reasonably-priced hooch in a nanny state off her meds.
Senator Michael McDowell
Who doesn’t love a crafty gasper?
The state for one.
Via Michael McDowell in the Irish Times:
…Cigarettes may even be restricted to sales in pharmacies, we are told. This is absurd. If a highly profitable State monopoly on tobacco sales is to be conferred on anyone, it should not be pharmacies. And it is even possible, according to the HSE, that filters will be banned on cigarettes – making them more harmful as a deterrent is a new idea.
Another idea under consideration is printing cancer warnings on each cigarette.
I don’t smoke and I totally supported Micheál Martin’s ban on smoking in indoor premises to which the public have access. But while I really pity nicotine addicts, I do not think that tobacco should be the subject of American-style 1920s Prohibition-era laws.
This is a case of the nanny state going a step too far. If people want to smoke, the State has no business preventing them from doing so. If people want to drink, you can’t bring in prohibition in the interests of cancer prevention, public health or the HSE’s budget.
It is noteworthy that we are considering legalising the smoking of cannabis while the HSE is planning the banning of smoking altogether – or nearly altogether.
Does the HSE want us all to live until we are 100? Who will pay the HSE for the consequences of that?
Public health policy does not warrant such coercion in a free society…
*sparks up afternoon fattie*
From top: Copper Face Jack’s last Friday; Professor Ruairi Brugha, Head of the Department of Public Health, Royal College of Surgeons
Prof Ruairi Brugha, of the Royal College of Surgeons, in the The Irish Times, writes::
‘…as a society, we have yet to have a debate in relation to the contending rights of those who feel they have the right to infect others through unvaccinated socialising, arguing along with some venue owners for right of entry to pubs and nightclubs for the unvaccinated, and the rights of those who wish to stay Covid-free and to be able to access health services when they need them….
Understandably, many hoped that 92 per cent vaccination coverage in adults would make us safe. However, Covid-19 vaccines only promised protection against serious disease, and not for everyone; and now that protection is waning….
…if we know that full vaccination, masks and social distancing – taken as a package – reduce the risk, what can we do to ensure everyone in high-risk settings complies? We must legislate for these measures to be mandatory.
We must enable staff and other customers to put pressure on customers who do not comply. We must enforce sanctions on venues that do not demand to see a Covid certificate and do not enforce compliance with preventive measures, enforcement that if necessary could involve ejecting customers. Yes, that will require consultation with gardaí and could require more fundamental legislative changes.
Those who sell alcohol and their advocates must take responsibility for preventing the excessive intake of alcohol on their premises, which is the single biggest factor leading to the breakdown of mask-wearing and social distancing.
There have been 30 or more revisions of the Government’s reopening guidelines for pubs in 16 months, and still no inclusion of guidance for pubs to prevent excessive alcohol consumption or eject those who are drunk.
New guidelines for nightclubs also ignore the elephant in the room – drunken customers who refuse to comply with staff requests to use preventive measures.
….Last winter, 18-35-year-olds contracted Covid-19 in pubs, and at work and home parties, and transmitted the infection to older relatives, many of whom died….
…as we enter another winter, some of those who grab the opportunity to stand in crowded queues in pubs and nightclubs will bring the virus home to younger siblings, many of whom are unvaccinated, who will seed schools with infections.
Between now and Christmas, and beyond, class and school closures will become more common, with huge impacts on parents. Too many of us have been there before. Do we have to go there again?
Via Irish Times Letters:
You quote new research in the Addiction medical journal which found that “Ireland is one of only two countries in Europe where alcohol consumption did not decline” during the Covid-19 pandemic and that “average consumption remained unchanged” during the period .
It’s difficult to take these findings seriously when you consider that figures published last month by the Revenue Commissioners showed that alcohol sales have plummeted during the Covid pandemic. In the first quarter of 2021, the sale of all types of alcohol – beer, cider, wine and spirits – fell by 19.7 per cent.
If sales have fallen by a fifth, then how could consumption have remained steady, as the new research claims?
Are we to believe that lockdown boredom has led to a sudden explosion in home brewing and the operation of poitín stills across the country?
I would have expected you to have applied a more rigorous and questioning analysis of the research you quoted.
The only thing which has “remained unchanged” during Covid is the puritanical attitude of the political and public health systems to even the most moderate and responsible consumption of alcohol.
Roe and Co
It has always struck me as odd – and frankly a bit creepy – that the Guinness Storehouse welcomes children.
As you probably know, Roe and Co is a new distillery owned by Guinness, around the corner from the Storehouse.
From the FAQ section of the Roe and Co website it says it’s a working distillery “and an alcohol experience,” so the minimum age for visitors is 18.
So that seems pretty sensible, right? After all, many visitors to these places regard them as gigantic ads for the manufacturer’s product, and kids are, as we know, rather vulnerable to the power of advertising.
Perhaps your readers can explain why one branch of Diageo is happy to seduce under 18s, and another branch of the same company – stationed just around the corner – regards such behaviour with the contempt it deserves?
From left: Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health Dr Tony Holohan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group Professor Philip Nolan and Dr Ronan Glynn at the Department of Health press briefing last night
Professor Philip Nolan – chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group – told the briefing that at no time since the start of the pandemic in March had it exceeded 1.4 or 1.6 (the R rate)…
Prof Nolan said this was certainly, “at least in part explained by the very high levels of socialisation and social contact” in the last weeks of December
Curbs on sale of alcohol next in line as Holohan says it fuels spread (Independent.ie)
Meanwhile, curbs on the sale of alcohol by forcing off-licences to cut their opening hours may be the next step in the fight against the Covid-19 crisis after chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan warned it is helping to fuel the spread of the virus.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar in government buildings last night
Further to Taoiseach Micheal Martin’s call that ‘No publican should be selling takeaway pints…’
The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the Government is considering banning the sale of alcohol after a certain time of day.
Mr Varadkar told Pat Kenny the issue of on-street drinking will be doubled down on as part of these new restrictions.
“We’re working on new public health regulations that strengthen the law in this regard around drinking alcohol in public streets, and that will give the Gardaí more powers of enforcement”.
Rumours abound that there is going to be a ban on take away pints. The little things get us through the pandemic, I enjoy a casual can by the canal at six feet with a friend one on one the odd Friday.
We reduce contacts, cannot have people over to the house, stay within 5km and work hard. That little thing of two or three cans by the canal is an outlet for human contact. All of us make sacrifices but can we not have the little things that keep us sane in these difficult times?