To: All members of the Dáil, Seanad and President Michael D Higgins

Stop reinforcing the stereotype of "the drunken Irish".

Every time some visiting head of state arrives, the first thing our politicians seem to do is to go to the nearest pub to have this visitor photographed drinking a pint of Guinness. I would like them to stop them reinforcing this stereotypical image that Ireland is best known for being a nation of drinkers.

Why is this important?

We have a unhealthy relationship with alcohol and some politicians seem to be more concerned about protecting the profits of Diageo and publicans than of taking a stand in favour of the health of our people.

They pay lip service to the problems caused by alcohol abuse, yet are quite happy to go along with the Diageo (Guinness) marketing charade that this practice supports.

We hear excuses that banning drink driving will cause rural isolation. It is possible to go the the pub and order something other than an alcoholic beverage. Driving is a responsibility - not a right.

Ask any A&E staff member or any one in a refuge for victims of domestic violence about the effects caused by excess alcohol use if you feel that this is harmless.

Ireland has far more to offer than just a pint of Guinness. Shame on our politicians for ensuring this is what we are best known for and perpetuating the stereotype of "the drunken Irish".

Personally I find it demeaning and offensive. I hope there are other like minded people who will sign this petition to end this practice.

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