Dr John Sheehan of Blackpool Bridge Surgery there was “certainly more alcohol use during the pandemic” and that people being home meant they didn’t have to drive to drop or collect people and were therefore inclined to drink more.
He said that people also began to drink more during the pandemic out of a sense of frustration and boredom and to cope with anxiety and stress.
Dr Sheehan was speaking following the announcement of the introduction of minimum alcohol prices under section 11 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 which will be signed later this week by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly for commencement in the first week of January next year.
Minister Donnelly, Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar announced the decision to increase the prices of low-cost, high-alcohol at a briefing yesterday.
Meanwhile, Michael O’Donovan, owner of the Castle Inn on South Main Street and Cork city chair of the VFI, said that minimum unit pricing “won’t have an effect on publicans on the on-trade and is more directed at the off-trade.
TD and Sinn Féin’s spokesman on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing, Thomas Gould said that action was badly needed.
Independent councillor Kenneth O’Flynn said that the Government’s introduction of MUP “comes from a place of misunderstanding and ignorance” and that the same approach taken in Scotland has “driven more people into poverty and also opened up avenues for criminality”.