THE 12 Pubs of Christmas phenomenon is a dangerous one which could result in people becoming ill or ending up in violent situations.
That’s the warning of public health expert, Professor Joe Barry, as revellers prepare for the last weekend before Christmas.
Mr Barry said: “The 12 Pubs of Christmas flies in the face of all good advice around alcohol.”
He added: “Heading out for the 12 Pubs of Christmas does not always work out well for people. For example, if 100 people do it, a certain number of people will have problems – some might get into fights, which might result in some people ending up in hospital.”
He said 12 alcoholic drinks was an excessive amount of alcohol intake which could lead to revellers becoming ill from over-consumption.
While saying he did not want to come across as nagging people about alcohol, he stressed that caution around alcohol at Christmas is very important.
Mr Barry also highlighted the trend towards purchasing ‘cheap’ alcohol easily in supermarkets and off licences.
He continued: “It is very hard not to drink at Christmas – alcohol is everywhere. The safest place to drink is in the pub.”
He said a combination of alcohol and family tensions in homes during Christmas makes for a dangerous environment, with families being forced together.
He advised: “Try not to focus on drink.”
Professor Barry pointed out that the enactment of the Public Health Alcohol Bill in October is a very positive step for Ireland.
Among the measures being introduced are minimum unit pricing, cancer warnings on alcohol products, and segregation of alcohol sales in shops. The legislation also restricts advertising of alcohol in places such as schools, playgrounds, sporting events, and in the cinema.
Drinkaware.ie is urging parents to be a positive influence on young people around alcohol.
The website has advice for parents on how to ensure their children have a positive approach to alcohol, including the quantity guidelines for alcohol consumption.
A spokesman said: “Being a positive role model and setting an example when it comes to your child’s relationship and understanding of alcohol is very important. When parents have a healthy relationship with alcohol, they are showing their children how to do the same. We want parents to be empowered by the fact that they are the single strongest influence on their children’s attitudes towards alcohol, even if it doesn’t feel like it at times.”