Minister calls for people to toast St Patrick with water instead of alcohol 3 months ago

Minister calls for people to toast St Patrick with water instead of alcohol

"You don't need a licence to have a bit of cop on.”

Minister of State Patrick O'Donovan, has urged people to "drown the shamrock with water" on St Patrick's Day instead of alcohol.

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Speaking on Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio One, the Minister of State at the Office of Public Works said curbs are needed on the sale of alcohol before St Patrick's Day following a failure to do so in off-licences prior to Christmas.

"We didn’t deal with the sale of alcohol before Christmas, we paid a very dear price for it,” he said.

"Before Christmas I suggested that we needed to address the volume and amount of alcohol that was on sale and the time frame by which off licences were allowed to sell alcohol, it was something that NPHET discussed, but it was something that was thrown out the window.

“I was criticised. I was lampooned by some of my own political colleagues that this was something that just wouldn’t work and we paid a very dear price for it.”

He added: "We saw what happened with the uncontrolled sale of alcohol.  You saw yourself in relation to the pictures coming from Limerick a few weeks ago."

O'Donovan also said the issue of takeaway drinks is a concern on St Patrick's Day especially with some protests planned to take place.

“Any self-respecting licence holder that's going to stand inside a table tomorrow and hand out pints would want their head examined," he said.

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"You don't need a licence to have a bit of cop on.”

He called on people to stay away from alcohol and said Wednesday is not a day to let the virus creep into your home.