Words: Ellen Kenny
A Cork City Council meeting motion to reduce the legal drinking age to sixteen has received sharp criticism from DrinkAware.
The motion was proposed by Fine Gael councillor Shane O’Callaghan, who suggested writing to the Minister for Justice to consider amending the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1988.
DrinkAware has heavily criticised this proposal: “Alcohol has no place in Irish childhood, and we need to do everything that we can collectively as a society, be that politicians, be it schools, be it communities, be it industry.”
“We all need to pull together tackling underage drinking and changing the culture and changing the expectation.”
O’Callaghan argued that a “fresh” perspective on the law in line with other countries is now needed, so we don’t look lame in front of all our cooler European neighbours: “It’s legal to purchase beer or wine in Germany at 16, but it isn’t legal to buy spirits until you turn eighteen.
“It’s a gradual introduction to less harmful drinks first.”
Playing the role of a cool “I’d rather you do it in the house, anyway” parent to perfection, O’Callaghann explained,”. “Here, the opposite is the case. There is no gradual approach.”
“It’s all illegal until you are eighteen, and interestingly, as I said, by far the most popular drink for seventeen-year-olds is spirits, not beer.”
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