Another thread popped up on p.ie about underage drinking with the suggested solution of reducing the number of off-licenses.
My personal view is that a much better solution is that we should require everyone to have a license to drink (including a test which you can take once over 18!), and should your progeny be found imbibing when too young to do so, that you as parent would lose your license for a period. Might encourage a few parents irrespective of social class to make more of an effort to know where their kids are and what they are up to.
Obtaining the license suits in nicely with my broader opinion which is that we are seriously lacking in Ireland a proper rite of passage into adulthood. I'm not suggesting that we send all lads or lassies at 18 off to some island to kill a animal and smear themselves in its blood but becoming an adult is a messy enough process without the strange absence of an generally accepted social indicator of this important stage in each citizens development.