advocating to reduce alcohol harm

Alcohol Action Ireland welcomes further progress on the Public Health Alcohol Bill

Public Health Alcohol Bill takes another decisive step closer to enactment completing Committee Stage today before the Select Health Committee.

 

Alcohol Action Ireland today welcomed the progress being made by the Oireachtas on the Bill and noted its completion of the Committee Stage before Dáil Éireann’s Select Committee on Health.

The Bill will now go to Report and Final Stages in Dáil Éireann, probably early in the Autumn session and before Budget 2019.

 Commenting on the advancement of the Bill, Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications and Advocacy at Alcohol Action Ireland said:

 “We are particularly pleased that the central provisions of this progressive Bill have largely remained intact, after what has been an intense lobbying action by the alcohol industry, and its surrogates, to have crucial sections amended.

It is particularly important that the prescribed criteria for health information on labelling of alcohol products, despite amendments being submitted, remains unchanged.

It is equally reassuring that most Members of the Committee have now accepted that there is a direct link between alcohol and fatal cancers, as well as the need for other information to be displayed clearly and legibly on the products.

 While some matters remain to be finally agreed by the Dáil, we remain confident that Minister Simon Harris can fulfil the ambition as stated by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar in June 2017 to have this legislation enacted as a priority for his government. Their steadfast commitment to ensuring alcohol is viewed as a public health concern and resilience in the face of spurious industry opposition, is to be greatly commended.

 The lives and wellbeing of future generations rely on these progressive measures being adopted to reduce our alcohol consumption now and that, as a nation, we can begin what will be a generational opportunity to de-normalise our harmful relationship with alcohol.”

 At its core, the Public Health Alcohol Bill is a pragmatic and modest objective to reduce our whole-of-population alcohol consumption, so improving public health outcomes, lessening alcohol-related harms and better protect our children, families and communities.

 In the time since the Bill began its passage, over 900 days ago, sadly the shocking levels of alcohol related harms have continued unabated:

  • 2,700 deaths were alcohol related; that is three deaths every day.
  • 9,894 cases of alcohol related self-harm have been treated.
  • 1.35 million hospital beds have been lost to alcohol related illnesses at a cost of €1.1 billion.

762,451 days of alcohol related absenteeism at a cost of €126m.