In re: The ethics of eamond

On my second night in Belfast, I led my friend down a dark alley to a bar that defiantly wasn’t frequented by to many (normally it would have street access, but due to construction the main street was closed off).  Anyway, walking into the bar we could tell it was a far cry from the Duke of York pub we had just come from, where you couldn’t move and the place was packed like a can of sardines.  I’ll admit I had my doubts about the bar, mostly empty tables and one or two folks standing by the bar.  Walking up we ordered up our pints of the ubiquitous Guinness that was to be a mainstay of our travels in Ireland.  Quickly, as is all to common in Ireland we knew both the inebriated man – Eamond, the bar tendering, bar owner John and a few other of the regulars.  Further before we knew it they were buying our drinks, the bar was ‘closed’ but business inside kept going.  Eamond turned out to be an interesting fellow, but it wasn’t until he left in a cab that we learned the extent of his drinking.  We learned that it was standard for Eamond to have twenty or more pints (imperial pints, twenty ounces), as well as some other customers.  We also learned that apparently the UK will pay people 1000 pounds a month if you get certified as an alcoholic, something Eamond and his wife easily qualified.  So essentially Eamond is spending $100 US Dollars a day on drinking, everyday of the week.  ($30,000 a year!)


So what does this matter?  Well this night would live on as my buddy Jim and I would discuss the morality of John the bartender selling Eamond, twenty pints a day.  Of course if he didn’t sell him, someone else would of course.  But still Eamond, would go home black out drunk every night of his life.  So basically the question comes down to is it wrong for John, to be profiting from Eamond’s addiction?  To through another wrinkle into the story, Eamond owned a house in the Catholic part of West Belfast, worth over 40 thousand pounds (about $80K US), John the owner of the bar bought the house for four thousand pounds from Eamond — why?  Eamond wanted to buy a Ford Mondeo.  A Ford Mondeo?  Well aside from being the best car in Ireland (its what we rented no less) why would Eamond lose out on all that money?  It was unclear, but my buddy jim thought that it was wrong for John, who had been serving Eamond pints for 20 years (20 years of this…) to be profiting further off of his stupidity.  To go through with the sale Eamond needed as well as John to have solicitors file the paperwork, but apparently non of these people have any duty to tell him he is selling it for super cheap and this left John with a quick turn around profit.  I might have had no problem with the whole deal because John gave off the better vibe, John gave up drinking but somehow stood around watching and serving others day after day, who knows if that’s right or wrong, but it was discussed. 



2 Responses

  1. This situation belongs in a philosophy course of some kind. I still feel conflicted about it.

  2. My bad philosophical answer:
    I am ok with the barman getting the deal on Eamond’s house. A drinker of Eamond’s caliber would likely be dead already (or at least in prison) if he didn’t have a “safe” and friendly place to go every night. It sounds like John is taking advantage, but I bet what he provides to Eamond is, in Eamond’s mind, a priceless commodity.

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