We live in a country, as the joke goes, where saying that someone is a bit fond of the drink is short hand for their chronic alcoholism. Yes, Ireland as a country has one of the highest rates of alcohol consumption in Europe. We accept this. However, blaming a sponsored night of drinking and music for all that ails our society, is a slightly immature take on the issue.
Surely, if this was the case, we should also blame the Government for Christmas, St. Patricks Day, Bank Holiday weekends and Halloween. Heaven forbid that Met Éireann should forecast a sunny afternoon and we all head to the Beer Gardens. We should also blame colleges and the USI for Fresher’s Week, Rag Week, end of exams and results night. Following that logic, we should also blame the Department of Education for Leaving Certificate results night, Junior Certificate Results night and End of Exams nights.
The problem is not the event but society’s acceptance of drinking to excess on a a regular basis being acceptable. For example, if I decide not to drink alcohol on a night, there are more questions about myself than is normal. Am I not feeling well, is there something going on etc. So it is more accepted in society to drink rather than have a soft drink night. Many people I know choose not to drink. The general chatter about these people is trying to figure out why they don’t drink. It’s none of their business.
Yes, there will be an influx of persons who should know better to A&E and the morning after will be littered with many empty desks in workplaces due to a sudden onset of “colds” and “food poisoning”. However, Diageo is not making us drink: it’s ourselves. Let’s collective grow up on this issue and start looking at ourselves and the culture that we perpetuate when it comes to the consumption of alcohol in this country.