Page 2, 25th October 1968

25th October 1968
Page 2
Page 2, 25th October 1968 — Pioneers stand firm

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Locations: Manchester


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Pioneers stand firm


FR, D. J. DARGAN, S.J., Central Director of the Pioneer Total Abstinence AssoCiation of Ireland, denied this ive,ek that he had advocated that the Pioneers should admit "moderate drinkers" to associate membership and abolish the distinctive pin worn by members.

The meeting, at which Bishop Casey, Auxiliary of Westminster, was guest of honour, was attended by more than 1,000 people. It was held at St. Pancras Town Hall last weekend.

Fr.' Dargan said that some Press Imports of his speech were inaccurate. "I said the Pioneers Association was formed to promote sobriety and temperance.

the members are prayer and sacrifice, which we offer in reparation and also to win help and grace for people with drinking problems. As long as drinking problems continue, these motives will continue to be relevant."

'HOLIER THAN THOU' Fr. Dargan said there was a feeling among some members that if the Pioneers were isolated from people who took alcohol they could not exert any influence on them, and that if they entered into communication they might get people to reject excessive drinking.

It was also argued that wearing the Pioneers' lapel pin might give the impression of a "holier than thou" attitude. Lnd might well his dropped.

Fr. Columban Acton, of St. George's Cathedral, Southwark, Spiritual Director of the Pioneers at St. George's, said he was reluctant to go along with this point of .view, and emphasised the validity of the movement's existing orientation.

At the 115th annual meeting of the United Kingdom Alliance, held in Manchester on Saturday, it was recalled that in October, 1936, the annual meeting passed a resolution urging the Government to introduce scientific tests for alcohol in the blood of motorists involved in accidents.

Last Saturday's meeting adopted a report which acknowledged the nation's debt to Mrs. Barbara Castle for persisting. in the face of initial opposition from motoring organisations, with the breathalyser legislation.

Mr. Cecil Heath, the president, said the results of the 1961 Licensing Act had been "quite deplorable." '[he number of licences had increased from 89,000 to 107,000 and the number of registered clubs from 16,500 to 22,000.

The drink bill had soared spectacularly from £618 million to £930 million, and convictions for drunkenness had quadrupled since the end of the war. The steady growth of alcoholism was a new factor with which the National Health Service seemed unable to cope.

A report, "Alcoholism in Industry," published this week, reveals that Monday is the peak day for absenteeism because of alcoholism, yet hardly any big companies in Britain have a policy for dealing with this illness.

There may be 58,000 people in industry with a drinking problem known to employers, and a further 250,000 unknown to employers. The report outlines a policy which would save industry millions in productivity and man-hours. It also urges that more money should be spent on houses of rehabilitation as part of this policy.

The report is the beginning of a campaign by National Lifeline, a group of three charities (the Helping Hand Organisation, the Apex Trust and the Circle Trust), to provide more rehabilitation facilities for industrial rejects and prisoners with a drinking problem.

The cost to the country of the "visible" problem — those with a drinking problem known to employers — is at least £24 million in lost work days every year. These people may be having at least 10 days more sick leave than the average because of their illness.

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