independent advocate reducing alcohol harm

AHAI Open Letter marking the 2nd year of the Public Health Alcohol Act.

 

 

 

 

 

It is now two years since the enactment of the Public Health Alcohol Act.  And while some aspects of the Act have been implemented, much remains to be done. Many important measures, crucial to the objective of reducing alcohol use in Ireland, such as Notice of Licence grant or renewal, Minimum unit pricing, Content of advertising, Labelling of alcohol products and a Broadcast watershed, have yet to be commenced by the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD.

The Programme for Government ‘Our Shared Future’ recognises that the Act has only been partly begun and that ‘longstanding’ commitments needed to be honoured. The objective of this hard fought for legislative framework is to reduce alcohol use and harm, and aims to bring Ireland’s alcohol consumption down from 11 litres per capita to 9.1 litres. What is required now is a firm timeline that commits to the implementation, in full, of the suite of measures whose effectiveness relies on a coherent and cohesive action.

We appreciate the challenge of managing the enormity of a public health crisis such that is COVID-19, which has derailed much of government’s ambition. However, every day that delays these measures being introduced can be counted in lives unnecessarily lost. In two years since enactment, the Global Burden of Diseases Study estimates over 5,500 people have died from alcohol related illnesses and incident in Ireland. The annual public cost of this social and economic impact remains enormous at €3.6 billion, especially at a time when the exchequer struggles for resources.

We, as members of the Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland, are united in our commitment to efficacy of these measures. Implemented they will undoubtedly achieve better public health outcomes and so we implore An Taoiseach, his government and the Minister for Health to proceed, without further delay.

 

Yours

Prof. Frank Murray

Chair

 

SIOBHAN CREATON

Head of Public Affairs and Advocacy,

Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

DR SHEILA GILHEANY

CEO

Alcohol Action Ireland

PADRAIG MCGARRY

President,

Irish Medical Organisation

CONOR KING

Acting CEO

Irish Cancer Society

SUZANNE CONNOLLY

CEO,

Barnardos

TIM COLLINS

CEO

Irish Heart Foundation

TANYA WARD

Chief Executive,

Children’s Rights Alliance

JOHN CHURCH

CEO,

Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC)

ETAIN KETT

Public Affairs & Communications Manager,

Dental Health Foundation

MARY CUNNINGHAM

CEO,

National Youth Council of Ireland

FIONA COYLE

CEO

Mental Health Reform

DR WILLIAM FLANNERY

President,

College of Psychiatrists of Ireland

MARTIN ROGAN

CEO,

Mental Health Ireland

DR CLÍONA SAIDLÉAR

Executive Director,

Rape Crisis Network Ireland

IAN POWER

CEO

SpunOut

 

DR CLAIRE HAYES

Clinical Director,

Aware

DONNA PRICE

Chair,

Irish Road Victims’ Association

PROF MARK DELARGY

Clinical Director,

National Rehabilitation Hospital

LIZ YEATES

CEO,

Marie Keating Foundation

DR HUGH GALLAGHER

GP Coordinator, HSE Addiction Service

CAROL MOORE

Lifewise

COLIN FOWLER

Director of Operations,

Men’s Health Forum in Ireland

KIERAN DOHERTY

CEO

Alcohol Forum

DR ORLA CROSBIE

Consultant Hepatologist, Cork University Hospital

JENNIFER MCCARTHY FLYNN

Head of Policy,

National Women’s Council of Ireland

DR AOIFE O’SULLIVAN

President,

Irish Student Health Association

ROLANDE ANDERSON

Addiction Counsellor

PROF JOE BARRY

Adjunct Professor of Public Health Medicine, TCD

PROF JOHN RYAN

Consultant Hepatologist, Beaumont Hospital

JOHN & ANNE HIGGINS

CATHERINE KEANE

JILLIAN VAN TURNHOUT

PROF. GEOFFREY SHANNON

Patron,

Alcohol Action Ireland