What does drink mean to the Irish?

A report published on the economic aspects of alcohol consumption by Brendan and Dermot Walsh supported the view that, 

An unusually high proportion of Irish expenditure is devoted to alcohol.

This may relate to the high cost of alcohol in Ireland due to high taxes. 

All the signs are that with rising levels of real income, each of us will drink more and more. And it's the hard stuff - spirits, and not beer or stout that we'll be drinking more of.

Dr Seán Ó Conchubhair, the Galway Coroner, who has studied the effects of alcohol on people, recently warned of the dangers of going to bed after having too much to drink, or even of going upstairs.

There is a danger that people who are intoxicated will do themselves some injury.

Dangers to the individual while drunk include falling out of bed or down the stairs. Dr Ó Conchubhair also comments on the dangers of drinking excessively relative to taking other drugs such as opium. He describes as "sad and tragic" the view by many that drunkenness is in some way funny to some people. He also advocates more rigorous control on drink driving, but thinks that the breathalyser will not solve this problem.

This 'Newsbeat' report by Cathal O'Shannon was broadcast on 19 May 1971.