Alcohol, crime and social control in Ireland: A question for readers
The Irish are also proverbially great drinkers, and that same Bruen has written with anger and emotion about the curse of alcoholism. But those sentiments, in his Jack Taylor novels, target alcoholism’s destructive effects on individual lives. I don’t remember Bruen ever citing drinking as a cause of social unrest. That is why I read the following news item with interest last night:
Ireland curbs alcohol salesAre the Irish drinking more than they used to? Are they doing so more destructively? Are the economic forces that contribute to social dislocation driving up rates of alcoholism? Or are the measures cited above an effort by newly monied classes to control the behavior of those left behind by the country’s sudden prosperity?
DUBLIN — Acting against binge drinking, Ireland is curbing alcoholic-beverage sales in convenience stores and gas stations. Stores can sell alcohol only from 10:30 a.m., not the current 7:30 a.m., and must close by 10 p.m., Justice Minister Brian Lenihan said yesterday. Food stores must display alcohol away from other goods.
About a third of Irish citizens have five or more drinks when they consume alcohol, almost double the European Union average, a survey shows.
“This is a response to a very significant problem of alcohol abuse, which is leading to public disorder,” Lenihan said. Almost half of those who committed murder or manslaughter were drunk at the time, according to a study by Ireland’s Health Services Executive published this week.
— Bloomberg News
I’m neither Irish nor an expert, nor am I an especially subtle thinker on matters of public policy, so I suspect the truth is some mix of these. What do you think, readers, especially Irish ones? Jargon-free comment from social scientists and law-enforcement personnel is welcome.
(Photo of the 1913 Dublin Lockout.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2008
Irish crime fiction