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North East study finds Irish are "compelled" to drink on St Patrick's Day

Irish people may feel compelled to drink alcohol to celebrate St Patrick's Day, whether they want to or not, a North East study has revealed.

Even those normally teetotal will feel duty-bound to drink as alcohol is romanticised in Irish culture, according to Northumbria lecturer Matthew Kearney.

Mr Kearney's research found that everyone who took part in the research celebrated St Patrick's Day and many used up credit cards and borrowed from friends and family to support the celebrations.

Even those who said they were teetotal the rest of the year felt compelled to drink alcohol to celebrate St Patrick's - a day when it is estimated that more than 13 million pints of Guinness will be drank around the world.

"Alcohol consumption, when placed in the context of Ireland, becomes instantly romanticised, attributed to one's underlying Celtic soul.

"Ireland is synonymous with alcohol; although Ireland boasts world heritage sites, Titanic museums and the birth sites of numerous authors and poets, its most popular tourist attraction is the Guinness Storehouse.

"When Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip make a point of publicly enjoying a Guinness experience while visiting Ireland, it starts to become even more apparent that alcohol consumption is so completely intertwined with 'Irishness'."

– Mr Kearney, from Coleraine in Northern Ireland

Gazza on his way home

Friends close to Paul Gascoigne say that he is on his way home after spending the past month at an Arizona rehab centre.

The former footballer checked into the Cottonwood Clinic to get treatment for alcohol addiction.

A number of celebrities have helped fund the £7500 a week rehabilitation programme.

Paul Gascoigne is said to be on his way back to England from America Credit: ITV

Sunderland off-licence banned from selling alcohol

A Sunderland off licence has been banned from selling alcohol after complaints of underage sales by police.

Rye and Dry off-licence, on Ryhope Street, had its licence revoked following a hearing of Sunderland City Council's Licensing Committee, on January 17.

The move follows two seperate incidents, in October and November 2012, in which young people carrying alcohol were stopped by police.

On both occasions, Rye and Dry was named as the shop it was bought from.

"We know that children who are able to buy alcohol are far more likely to become involved in anti-social behaviour.

Dealing with youth disorder is a priority for us and a main concern of our residents. Shops which ignore the law and sell alcohol to children must take responsibility for their actions.

Officers make regular checks on pubs, bars and off-licences to make sure their staff are aware of the licensing regulations and their responsibilities to the public.

Rye and Dry losing their licence should serve as a warning to other businesses that police will not tolerate this kind of behaviour."

– Jamie Southwell, Neighbourhood Inspector for the area


Council backs city minimum alcohol pricing

Two bars in Newcastle will become the first in the UK to sell alcohol at a new minimum price.

The bars which will open on Grey Street in the city centre will have to set prices of at least one pound twenty five per unit.

That's nearly three times the current rate of forty five pence.

The council have agreed the new price with the bar owners saying it will control alcohol related crime in Newcastle.

Premium bars will maintain Grey Street standards

Two bars in Newcastle are set to become the first of their kind, and in the UK, as they will be licensed to sell alcohol at a minimum price in excess of one pound per unit.

The new units at Decantus and the Grey Street Cafe Bar and Grill have been given the licenses on the condition that alcohol is sold at a minimum price of £1.25 per unit - nearly three times the current 45p per unit price.

The £1.25 figure has been set to maintain standards and keep Grey Street as the city's premier street. Newcastle City Council, who are running the initiative, also believe the measure will maintain the quality of the city centre, control crime and disorder and improve health.

"Newcastle is leading the way nationally on this issue and many other councils like us with a world class night life and destination to manage will follow in our footsteps.

The Government should take our lead by doing what they can to be tougher on the supermarkets, who have caused the crisis of low cost binge drinking. Only they can tackle this problem."

– Councillor Henri Murison, Newcastle City Council

Police prepared to "arrest more motorists than ever before"

North Yorkshire Police is warning that they are prepared to arrest more motorists than ever before during this year’s festive drink and drug drive campaign.

Officers have arrested 43 people since the Christmas crackdown began on 1st December, despite repeated warnings about the potential dangers and possible repercussions linked to drink and drug driving.

Police have been patrolling the roads of North Yorkshire and the City of York since the campaign began and have breathalysed 1597 motorists.

Of the 43 motorists arrested on suspicion of drink or drug driving so far, 21 have been charged and face losing their licences before the year is out.

Our officers have done a great job since the campaign began in detecting suspected drink and drug drivers.

“It is, however, very disappointing that some people still choose to ignore our pleas not to put lives in danger by getting behind the wheel while impaired through drink and drugs.

“I want people to know that we will continue breathalysing people and making arrests in order to keep our communities safe this Christmas.

– Traffic Sergeant Pete Stringer, North Yorkshire Police
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