I move amendment No. 1:
In page 8, between lines 15 and 16, to insert the following:
"(4) The Court may, if it sees fit, refer a person convicted undersubsection (3) for alcohol abuse assessment and with his or her agreement, treatment if required.”.
This is the amendment I withdrew on Committee Stage. I still have concerns about a drunken person who has got his or her skull full. Given our reputation abroad, stag parties are advertised here because one can get so drunk. That is the culture. I would like those who are convicted to realise that paying a fine is not what society expects. Society expects more than this because not only did the person get drunk but he or she also probably has a serious problem.
The value of fines was explained very vividly by Senator Bohan who said that while publicans should be fined €10,000 or €20,000, the pub should not be closed down. For the person involved the same should apply. Where I would like to see the legislation take a stand is on the question that people in casualty departments should be encouraged to look at the fact that they may have a serious problem. What I have proposed in my amendment is pretty mild because one cannot force people to do much. I hope the Minister can accept it. Because the Bill will receive a great deal of publicity I would like to have it included to deal with those who, on occasion, are so seriously drunk that they are convicted for second and subsequent offences. I would be grateful if the Minister could accept it.