David Norris was speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning about what measures can be taken to address the binge drinking culture in this country when he said that people on welfare should not be allowed to buy drink.
He also said he welcomes the introduction of minimum pricing for alcohol announced earlier this week.
“I hear people on the wireless saying ‘Oh what about the poor people on the social welfare and they’ll be deprived of their few drinks. I don’t spend my tax dollars to buy drinks for people on social welfare,” he said.
“I don’t think tax is for people to be drinking all the time and I see them all around my area buying slabs of drinks.”
He says he does not want to fund a round of drinks for people on welfare with his tax money.
Asked by presenter Ivan Yates if he was proposing that people on welfare should not be allowed to buy a drink, Norris said:
“Not with tax money, no. I regularly see people vomiting and puking all over the place, the country has gone mad on drink. Drink is now a human right, it’s ridiculous.”
It’s quite surprising to hear someone who makes his living campaigning for equality to generalise and stigmatise people on social welfare. He refers to a small group of people he sees near his home in North Great Georges Street as being representative of people who are on social welfare. In my opinion his comments are quite narrow sighted and hypocritical and I would have expected better from someone like Senator Norris.
His comments come as Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) is to be introduced from January – meaning a ‘floor price’ is being set, beneath which alcohol cannot legally be sold.
A can of beer will cost a minimum of €1.95 under the new legislation, while a bottle of wine will cost around €8.60 and a bottle of supermarket own-brand vodka could more than double in price from €13 to €28.