Do the Irish deserve reputation as heavy drinkers?

The Irish have a reputation around the world for drinking to excess. Well unfortunately it could be well deserved.
An online survey carried out by the Irish Times newspaper revealed that more than half the nation had drank more alcohol in the past week than was recommended by the Irish Health Service (HSE).
The survey revealed that 58% of Irish males were exceeding the recommended weekly consumption of 17 units, and 52% of women drank more than their recommended 11 units.
Do the Irish deserve reputation as heavy drinkers?
That means that half the people in the country are putting their health at risk each week in Ireland. One unit is measured as 10 grams of pure alcohol. A pint of standard strength beer contains two units, and an average bottle of wine contains seven.
Chief executive of Alcohol Action Ireland Suzanne Costello said: “In Ireland, 1.3 million people drink harmfully. We are the second-highest binge drinkers in Europe.”
The worst offenders amongst women was those aged 60+, with 26% drinking more than double their recommended quota. Worryingly, 36% of Irish girls under 18 are also doubling the weekly allowance despite being too young to drink according to the law.
It may be surprising to some to find that males fared slightly better in the survey, although not by much. Boys under 18 were measured by 1.5 times the recommended amount, and 29% were overdoing that mark. No girls that took the survey said they had consumed no alcohol at all in the past week, compared to 6% of boys that were teetotal.
The next age range was 18-24, and males and females are both behaving badly at this time in their lives, with 64% of men and 58% of women drinking more than the recommended amount each week.
Shockingly, at least half the people surveyed from each age range and sex are drinking to excess.
Many people in Ireland have grown tired of its reputation around the world in recent years, as a nation of people that like to get drunk. Unfortunately, it looks like drastic changes need in Irish society before they can argue that it’s not the case.