Strong reactions to motion to reduce legal drinking age to 16 in Ireland 1 year ago

Strong reactions to motion to reduce legal drinking age to 16 in Ireland

A politician suggested that the legal drinking age should be lowered to match some other countries in Europe.

A motion that proposed reducing the legal drinking age in Ireland to 16 has been tabled following a very mixed reaction.


Cork City Fine Gael councillor Shane O’Callaghan, who proposed the motion, pointed out that in other countries in Europe, such as Germany, beer and wine can be legally purchased by 16 year olds, but all spirits cannot be purchased by anyone under 18 years of age.

As reported by Echo Live, O’Callaghan stated that he had initially brought up the motion as he had been involved in a lot of litter clean-up projects in the area, and discovered large amounts of alcohol cans and bottles.

O'Callaghan stated:

"I’m not actually saying that I’m necessarily in favour of reducing the legal drinking age… it should be considered, it should be looked at.


"A lot of young people’s first interaction with drink is hiding the fact that they’re drinking because of drinking underage when they shouldn’t be. That’s potentially the beginning of an unhealthy relationship.

"A lot of Garda resources are expended on going after young people and taking drink off them. It results in a lot of young people at a young age breaking the law essentially by attempting to get served underage and using fake IDs."

O'Callaghan eventually tabled the motion following concerns raised by other councillors, including by Fianna Fáil councillor Terry Shannon, who stated:

"The first thing I would say about a motion is you have to have the courage of your convictions. If you’re going to put down a motion like this, you’re either in favour of what you’re proposing or you’re not. Being wishy-washy doesn’t work."


Meanwhile, others expressed their shock when they first saw the motion: Independent councillor Thomas Moloney stated he believed it to be a "misprint", while Green Party councillor Colette Finn said she was "gobsmacked".

Additionally, CEO of Drink Aware Sheena Horgan, told Breaking News the following:

"Alcohol has no place in Irish childhood and we need to do everything that we can to collectively as a society, be that politicians, be it schools, be it communities, be it industry.

"We all need to pull together with regards to tackling underage drinking and changing the culture and changing the expectation."