Senator proposes new legislation to change Ireland's drinking laws
Senator Catherine Noone has also clarified reports about her wanting to raise the legal drinking age in Ireland.
Senator Catherine Noone has expressed concern about a recent survey which revealed that Irish drinkers consume over twice as much alcohol as the global average.
Figures released by The Lancet showed that 40% of Irish people - broken down to 54% of men and 26% of women - are described as heavy episodic drinkers, which is defined as having at least one occasion of consuming the equivalent of 60g of pure alcohol (or five standard units) over a 30-day period.
Alcohol intake in Ireland has also increased, from 12.3 litres (per adult per year) in 2010 to 13.2 litres in 2017.
Following the publication of the survey, Senator Noone has called for Ireland to adopt the Icelandic model to tackle the issue of alcohol abuse among young people.
She said: "I am now calling for the adoption of the Icelandic model in tackling alcohol abuse among young people, which has proven highly effective to date. In Iceland, the Government reduced the visibility and availability of alcohol. They put a ban on alcohol and tobacco advertisements.
"Moreover, the encouragement of increased participation by parents and funding for the participation of healthy recreational activities via a leisure card has further supported the decrease in alcohol consumption and an increase in healthy pursuits.
"In 1998, 42% of 15 - 16 year old Icelanders were reported to have been drunk during the previous 30 days, whereas by 2014 only 6% of students reported the same. Daily smoking and the use of cannabis has also decreased dramatically.
"Notably, Icelandic youth are informed about laws and regulations, they are spending more time with parents/family and are participating more often in organised sports and other organised leisure time activities."
Senator Noone has also clarified reports that she thinks the legal drinking age in Ireland should be raised to 20.
It appears that the confusion was created by an initial press release which referred to the fact that Iceland's legal drinking age is 20. While Noone does agree with parts of the Icelandic model, the legal drinking age is not one of them.
In a statement to JOE, she said: "There really should have been no mention of the 20 year limit in my release as I don’t actually agree with that part of the model."
Speaking about the recent survey, Senator Noone feels that Ireland's ranking is "totally unacceptable" and said that "more needs to done to combat the problem of alcohol consumption".
I don’t think we should raise the age limit. I agree with many elements of the Icelandic model but not that one and shouldn’t have referred to it at all.
— Catherine Noone (@catherineanoone) May 9, 2019