Irish Bishops’ Drugs Initiative message for Saint Patrick’s Day 2014

14 Mar 2014

Irish Bishops’ Drugs Initiative message for Saint Patrick’s Day 2014  

The Irish Bishops’ Drugs Initiative wishes everyone a happy and healthy Saint Patrick’s Day and encourages individuals and families to celebrate the national holiday of our patron saint without an overreliance on alcohol.

Bishop Éamonn Walsh, vice-chair of the IBDI said, “Parents are the most important influence on children in terms of alcohol use, and the example set by parents will have a major effect on the relationship young people will have with alcohol.  Although we tend to underestimate our influence on the behaviour of children towards alcohol, national and international research* indicates that parental influence is much more significant than peer influence.  The pastoral experience of the IBDI in parishes highlights the value of talking to our young people about alcohol use in a calm context.  IBDI feedback also points to the benefits of delaying, for as long as possible, the initiation of children into that stage in life involving alcohol use.”

Research* shows that young people who start drinking before the age of fifteen are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence later in life.  It is important that parents and other adults are aware of the consequences of underage drinking to enable them to reduce and prevent alcohol-related damage.  For Saint Patrick’s Day 2014 the IBDI recommends:

·       if alcohol is to be consumed, always drink alcohol in moderation

·       never drink alcohol and drive

·       sometimes refuse an alcoholic drink when offered

·       consider not including alcohol in family celebrations and at social occasions

·       avoid using alcohol as an emotional crutch  

.       families might consider arranging a fun day out without involving alcohol

 The IBDI wishes all Irish people at home and abroad a thoughtful, joyful and healthy Saint Patrick’s Day 2014.


Notes to Editors

  •  The Irish Bishops’ Drugs Initiative was established in 1997 as a Catholic Church response to the growing problem of drug and alcohol misuse in Ireland.  The IBDI chairperson is Ms Patricia Conway and vice-chair is Bishop Éamonn Walsh, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Dublin.  The IBDI pastoral initiative operates in over 250 parishes throughout Ireland – north and south.
  •  The source for both research* references above is Alcohol Action Ireland, see

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth: 00353 (1) 505 3017 and Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678