Róisín Shortall – Minister of State in the Irish
government. She 'knows' the Irish people 
need to be minded by the state.
{Photo from Labour.ie}
The sale of alcohol in Ireland is declining, but a new survey has allowed Róisín Shortall, a Minister of State in the Irish government, to declare that it is "crucial people reduce their level of alcohol consumption."

If Shortall had said that it is "crucial that those people who drink too much reduce their level of alcohol consumption" I wouldn't have a problem with her. That isn't good enough for Shortall, however. No Shortall doesn't care about the statistics, is convinced that Irish people drink too much and wants to punish us all for the sins of the few.

On Monday Shortall said, "We need to move towards a much more mature approach to life" by which she means we need to grow up and accept that we're babies and that the state needs to mind us. As far as Shortall's concerned the Irish people are not adult enough to judge for themselves how much alcohol they should drink.
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Although Shortall hasn't got her proposal past her cabinet colleagues yet, her wish is set a minimum price for alcohol and, thus, eliminate the cheapest beer and wine. Cheap beer is the problem as far as Shortall is concerned, not a lack of self-control among some drinkers.

Shortall has company in her belief that the people must be "mature" enough to realize they're immature. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's war on large sodas, iced coffees, whatever is part of the same "we know what's best for you and we're going to force you to accept that" mentality. These are the new Puritans determined to legislate against human weakness.

Just as there are people in New York who are too heavy there are Irish people who drink too much. I wish they didn't drink too much. Regardless I the state should not use the force of law to try and stop them because (a) a minimum price for alcohol will almost certainly not accomplish anything, (b) it's wrong to punish those who can enjoy an inexpensive beer or glass of wine and (c) it's not the state's place to stop people getting drunk, unless they become a public nuisance.

Shortall isn't only targeting cheap beer and wine. She would like to see an end to alcohol companies sponsoring sporting events. She also had a go at a go at Guinness and it's Arthur's Day celebration, which despite the fact it's a contrivance is also promoting a successful Irish exporting employer and attracts tourists to the country. Enda Kenny needs to take Shortall aside and tell her it's time to be mature and forget her crusade and stop knocking one of the few Irish success stories.

By all means Shortall should encourage people to "drink responsibly" (a.k.a. less) and lead a campaign in schools aimed at teens to warn of the dangers of alcohol. They are, after all, children and can be handled as such. I am not nor are any of the other of the country's adults. Stop treating us as if we were.