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RTE Television

Under the Influence

In Under the Influence, Bishop tackles one of the great taboos of Irish society and explores the Irish relationship with alcohol and other addictive behaviours.

Bishop's parents sent him to Ireland aged 14 in 1990 because, in his own words, he had 'developed an unhealthy relationship with alcohol'. Having spent a few years boarding in St Peter's College Wexford and then going on to study History in UCC Des finally decided, aged 19, to ditch alcohol and has been tee-total ever since.

The national debate on social norms that is currently raging over the airwaves makes this a perfect time to explore booze and Irish society. The debate was further ignited last summer by the anti-social behaviour at the Swedish House Mafia gig in Phoenix Park combined with a Health Research Board Survey on alcohol which found that 72% of respondents know someone who they believe drinks too much.

Are we all in denial? Is there such a thing as an addictive personality? What part does society as a whole play in facilitating excessive behaviour and at what cost?

Contributors to Under the Influence include: Diarmaid Ferriter, frontline medics such as Dr Chris Luke, Dr Frank Murray, counsellors Austin Prior and Frances Black, politicians Roisin Shortall TD and Ming Flanagan TD, comedians Willa White and Colm O'Regan.

Under the Influence
  • RTÉ One, Thursday 7 February, 10.15pm