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Home > A good man's fault: alcohol and Irish people at home and abroad.

Greenslade, Liam and Pearson, Maggie and Madden, Moss (1995) A good man's fault: alcohol and Irish people at home and abroad. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 30, (4), pp. 407-417.

Long-standing stereotypes portray Irish people as prone to use alcohol to excess. This review traces the historical origins of those stereotypes, and examines evidence drawn from a range of secondary sources in Ireland and Britain about alcohol consumption, attributed hospital admissions and mortaliiy.

The available data indicate that the 'problem' of Irish drinking and Irish attitudes to alcohol are not as straightforward as traditionally supposed. Far from the stereotypical image of the Irish embodied in the ubiquitous drunk male labourer, rates of abstinence from alcohol are higher in Ireland than in Britain. Amongst migrants, the Irish are no more likely to consume alcohol than the indigenous population. However, those Irish people who do drink alcohol do so at generally higher levels than their British bom counterparts.

Analysis of combined years' data from the General Household Survey indicates first that people of Irish birth or parentage are no more likely than the British born to use alcohol at all. However, if they make use of alcohol at all, members of the Irish groups were more likely than the British born to consume alcohol at levels greater than 14 or 21 units per week. Both the review and the data presented suggest that a more complex understanding of the dynamics and nature of Irish drinking needs to be developed.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Article
Drug Type
Alcohol, All substances
Page Range
pp. 407-417
Oxford University Press
Accession Number
HRB 4310 (Not in collection)

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