It’s a truth universally acknowledged that the Irish are fond of a drink.
In fact we have made it a badge of our national identity.
The Guinness Storehouse is the most visited tourist attraction in the country and foreign dignitaries dutifully fall in line for the obligatory photo op with a pint of the black stuff.
All this despite us having the most expensive booze in the EU – 70% higher than the EU average.
And what clever solution have the boffins in Leinster House arrived at to eradicate this scourge? Why only to make it even more expensive!
Boozing and obesity are now the twin nemeses of our new puritanical Irish society and hiking the price of our national libation is intended to defeat both in one fell swoop.
The government’s cunning plan involves the introduction of a minimum unit price on alcohol, taking the price of wine to over €10 a bottle, which means Concerned from Dalkey will no longer be able to enjoy a cut price midweek Claret. It will signal the end of a decent €4 Bordeaux from Aldi and a mass exodus of oenophiles north of the border to Newry.
Having just returned from the south of Spain, where a perfectly drinkable bottle of white could be acquired for just over €2, it’s obvious we are already paying well over the odds for our plonk. Increasing the cost is hardly going to effect the desired behavioural change. All it will do is line the tax man’s pockets, damage our nascent tourism industry and further enrage middle Ireland.