Michael McDowell is one of those innovative leaders who often gets up people's noses as his passion for what he believes in is a few steps out of sync with his mouth. He would make a great apprentice for Sir Alan Sugar.
Since there is plenty of negative coverage in recent days for McDowell, I'll try to be different. I have to commend the way he comes up with fresh ideas.
I thought McDowell's cafe-bar licensing idea last year was great. I've been in some of these here and abroad and they do tend to encourage people to balance consumption between food and drink. It's well known that having food reduces the intoxicating effect of a given measure of alcohol and there can be a tendency to drink less when having food. Apart from the obvious reduction in people being pissed out of their skulls with no food in their stomachs, there is also the avoidance of drunks spilling into chippers very late, causing trouble, and having trashy food in their stomachs before going to sleep.
I seem to recall that what killed McDowell's cafe bar plans was a strong rejection force from Fianna Fail back benchers - who may well have had links, lobbyists, or party donations from interests in the license trade.