Thursday, June 19, 2008


I have more to say about Roger Cohen's column in today's NY Times. Cohen decided that he couldn't make his case without playing on a (inaccurate) stereotype about Ireland and Irish people.

Cohen wrote:
I can’t think of a country that’s benefited from European Union membership more than Ireland. It has catapulted itself in a few decades from beer-soaked backwater to the Celtic Tiger whose growth rates, foreign investment and rags-to-riches story were the envy of every languishing small nation with a thirst for a makeover.
Did you catch that "beer-soaked backwater"? Yup, if not for the EU Ireland would still be a land full of drunks.

Truth is, the EU could more easily be blamed for turning Ireland into a "beer-soaked cesspool". In 1970 Irish & British per capita alcohol consumption was nearly identical (7.0 liters per person in Ireland, 7.1 in Britain). By 2004 Ireland's per capita consumption was 13.6 liters per person whereas Britain's per capita was 11.5.

You see? Ireland's alcohol consumption has nearly doubled since we joined the EU. Maybe Mr. Cohen could have spent the ten minutes on google that it took me to find those stats. Ignoramus.