Fine Gael Dublin Senator Catherine Noone has called for the reclaiming of St Patrick’s day from its ingrained association with binge drinking and for the promotion of more alcohol-free events celebrating our national day.
The call follows the introduction of the Sober St Patrick’s Day initiative, which will see the Gresham Hotel come alive with ceol agus craic this March 17th in an alcohol free setting.
“This is a fantastic initiative. Many people, especially younger people feel under immense pressure to binge drink on St Patrick’s Day. To a large extent our national day has been hijacked by alcohol. Excessive drinking is now perceived as virtually a patriotic duty at this stage.
“The Sober St Patrick’s day movement has already been introduced in six cities in the US and in Belfast, proving that you don’t need a drink to have the craic and celebrate Ireland’s national day.
“However, I believe Ireland should now be leading the charge in the Sober Saint Patrick’s day initiative. I have previously highlighted the alarming growth of binge drinking – especially amongst our younger people and the subsequent rise in liver disease in people as young as 20. A report from Temple Street Hospital last week revealed that over 100 alcohol poisoning admissions to Temple Street Hospital were children under 17, some as young as 11.
“I’m not anti-having a drink on St Patrick’s day as such but simply anti St Patrick’s Day being associated with the abuse of alcohol and the notion that getting drunk is synonymous with being Irish.”