Last Saturday night’s RTE TV Late Late Show saw an impassioned plea by former Gaelic Football star Pat Spillane of Kerry against the weekend violence that is endemic across the country.
A teacher and TV sports show presenter, as well as a football coach, he has much contact with young people.
In the past decade, he has seen a huge upsurge in the consumption of alcoholic spirits that transforms young people from being pleasant to aggressive.
Fired up by strong alcohol accompanied by high sugar intake in mixers has meant that after closing time at weekends it can be dangerous when hundreds emerge onto the streets after midnight.
He gave a glimpse of Saturday night Ireland that, far from the land of welcomes, is sinister. We hear of dreadful assaults on young people, where mindless, ridiculous violence is carried out.
Parents are worried that they might get a call from a hospital or a Garda and fear the worst. The driving dangers are also well documented with fatal weekend accidents a regular occurrence.
Spillane has said it is time to call stop. He does not have the answers, but feels there should be a national debate on the issue. It is already bad, will it get worse?
How can it be controlled? Too many outlets for the sale of alcohol is seen as one of the issues. Should the law be better enforced where serving people already intoxicated is concerned? This is strictly enforced elsewhere like in the USA and Canada.
It is rare here that people already drunk are not served and giving such people spirits is only adding to problems. We in Ireland seem to have a higher acceptance of people who may have had too much.
The home drinking problem where people then go to a late venue for the last few is another issue. Can doormen of entertainment venues be more vigilant, do they need more training and checks for customer drunkenness?
A change of culture is needed to make this drunken behaviour uncool. Health education in schools and colleges is needed more. If people were brought into a class who had suffered and their personal stories told, it could change some attitudes.
The lad and laddette culture in the UK seems to have drifted over here, where getting wasted on spirits seems to be the final part of the night. Booze Britain is often on Sky TV, are we seeing that here too.
It reminds one of the film Clockwork Orange in the seventies and eighties, football violence among supporters was another part of this culture, but this is now controlled well in England, now it is late night random violence
The senseless random attacks do not involve theft.
Spillane said he did not have the answers but got a huge reaction from the public to his piece in a Sunday newspaper last week.