The drinks industry operating in the Republic of Ireland has received warning of a possible crackdown by minister for justice Michael McDowell.

Speaking at the Progressive Democrats annual conference in Galway, McDowell warned that alcohol must be recognised as a scourge which has ruined many lives. He gave warning that tighter legislation could be introduced to tackle the problem of public drunkenness.

He singled out publicans who made money from "reducing people to stupefaction".

"It is already illegal for publicans to allow people to become drunk on their premises and I am planning a stricter enforcement of this law," he said.