Alcohol Action Ireland today (26th Oct) expressed cautious optimism over yesterday’s announcement (25th Oct) by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar in Dáil Éireann that the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill would return to the Oireachtas on the 8th November.
It will by then have been 700 days since the Bill began it legislative deliberations in Seanad Éireann.
Regrettably over the duration of this delay to enactment, our national consumption of alcohol continues to rise, a further 2000 lives have been lost to alcohol related illnesses, over 100,000 children have commenced drinking and alcohol continues to be a contributing factor in half of all suicides in Ireland.
Alcohol Action Ireland applauds An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar and the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, for their steadfast commitment to the Bill, and their determination, along with other political figures – past and present, to take this historic opportunity to ensure that Ireland’s harmful relationship with alcohol will be addressed as a public health concern.
Commenting on the announcement, Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications and Advocacy, said:
“We remain confident that this progressive piece of legislation can significantly and positively alter Ireland’s harmful relationship with alcohol. This legislation is the most far-reaching proposed by any Irish Government, with alcohol being addressed for the first time as a public health issue.
The legislation remains part of a wider range of reasonable and pragmatic measures under the strategic framework of Healthy Ireland, which aims to improve the nation’s health and wellbeing.
If enacted in this parliamentary session, 2018 may bring a beginning to ‘de-normalising’ our cultural affair with alcohol, as we seek to reduce our per capita consumption by 20% from 11.46 litres to 9.1 litres per capita by 2025.”
Note to Editor:
The agreed objective of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, as approved by Cabinet in October 2013, was to affect a 21% reduction (approx. 3% reduction p.a.) in alcohol consumption: ‘Ireland should set as a target for 2020 the OECD average consumption figure of 9.1 litres of pure alcohol consumed per person over 15 in the population per annum (current 11.6 in 2011).’
This seven-year target can be projected to a 2018 timeline, assuming the Bill is enacted in full, commenced appropriately and regulated as prescribed.
In recent weeks Alcohol Action Ireland has been the target of mischievous commentary on many bogus social media accounts including Twitter: @AlcoholActionIE, and Reddit account: AlcoholActionIreland each of which are bogus and malicious, and have no connection to our organisation, its mission and objectives.