Tuesday, June 06, 2006

NI people drink more pop that the rest of UK - or do they?

NI people ‘top of the fizzy pops’

"People in Northern Ireland drink an average of 105 litres fizzy drinks every year, the most in the UK. The statistics were revealed by NIO minister Paul Goggins in reply to a written parliamentary question from Democratic Unionist MP Iris Robinson."

This headline and the story on the BBC News website this morning raises a number of questions in my mind.

What provoked Iris Robinson MP to ask such a strange question?

Why do we drink so much - when the weather is so poor? After all, we look forward to the summer because the rain is warmer.

The article (as it stands this morning) goes on to comment:

"In the UK as a whole, people drink 105 litres a year ..."

So if the UK average is 105 litres, and the NI average is 105 litres, since when does that put NI at the top of the UK fizzy drinks league. Does someone at the BBC need to go back and resit Statistics 101? For completeness:

“... the average was 109 litres in the Irish Republic”

My last question - potentially opens a huge can of worms - but should the BBC be using “Irish Republic” rather than “Republic of Ireland”? Wikipedia has an interesting article on names of the Irish state - though the normally accurate Guardian Style Guide disagrees, suggesting the use of either (see the entry under Eire).

Either way, local dentists must be delighted at the news. Must keep an eye to see if anyone rewords the article during the day in response to my email.


John Self said...

It's still like that now (1:10pm).

As for the 'Irish Republic' question, the BBC News Style Guide (PDF format) doesn't seem to offer any strong guidance, though I admit I didn't read all 92 pages...

Alan in Belfast said...

You're right - it doesn't offer any help. But there's a real gem at the bottom of page 58:

"There are nine counties in Ulster. Six of them make up Northern Ireland – Antrim, Armagh, Londonderry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone. The other three are Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan.

(A possibly useful mnemonic: the six counties of Northern Ireland = FAT LAD)."

John Self said...

...Hence the title of 'local author' Glenn Patterson's 1992 novel.