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Bishop laments growing alcohol abuse in Ireland

Catholic World News - July 04, 2014

In a statement posted on the website of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Auxiliary Bishop Éamonn Walsh of Dublin said that “Ireland’s relationship with alcohol is fast heading towards a national emergency.”

“Only one week ago, the Health Research Board’s study of Irish people’s alcohol consumption revealed that one in three of the population is a harmful drinker,” he said. “The HRB’s findings concerning our young people were even more disturbing: three quarters of alcohol is consumed as binge drinking and two-thirds of people in the 18-24 age bracket binge drink.”

At the same time, Bishop Walsh said that the Church did not take a position on the proposed sale of alcohol on Good Friday. “On Good Friday, Catholics are asked to share in that sacrifice through the traditional practices of prayer, the veneration of the Cross and through fast and abstinence,” he said. “Many people in Ireland still join in these religious practices.”

“It is a matter for the civil authorities to decide on the context and content of legislation, and this should serve the common good,” he added. “The sale of alcohol on Good Friday is an issue on which Christians can make up their own minds based on an informed conscience and on the content of proposed legislation. It is also true to say that each year we can enjoy Christmas Day without pubs being open.”

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