Alcohol Action Ireland call on 13 TDs further delaying the Alcohol Bill to back better public health, and protect our children first, ahead of a thriving alcohol industry.

Alcohol Action Ireland has called on the 13 TDs from many political parties and none, urban and rural, to withdraw their proposed amendments to the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, ahead of the forthcoming Report and Final Stages, next Wednesday.

Citing the continuous lobbying pressure from the alcohol industry, Alcohol Action highlighted that regrettably these TDs by further delaying enactment are now advancing alcohol business interests rather than leading to protect the health and wellbeing of their constituents.

Since the Bill was first introduced to the Oireachtas, over 1000 days have elapsed without enactment. Over this time, a further 3,000 people have died from alcohol related illness and incidents, much of which was utterly avoidable.

Most concerning, over 160,000 children have joined, all to early, a drinking society, promising what Business Lobbying Groups refer to as a ‘lifetime of income from responsible drinking’.

Speaking ahead of Dáil Éireann’s autumn sitting, which begins on Tuesday, 18thSeptember, Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications and Advocacy at Alcohol Action Ireland, said:

The consensus on this Bill has been painstakingly developed over many years, and across two governments, despite ferocious opposition from the alcohol industry. It’s enactment, which cannot now be further delayed, was a crucial component of ‘A Programme for a Partnership Government’ agreed between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in 2016.

At its heart is a simple logic – if we are to tackle the harms of alcohol across our communities, we must reduce rising alcohol consumption, and so less alcohol products must be sold; if we are to slow future consumption, our children must be protected from early enrolment.

By backing these industry sponsored amendments, these TDs are backing the alcohol industry ahead of people’s health. Their actions are encouraging more alcohol sales not less because they place a greater value on the thriving commercial interests of the alcohol industry rather than the lives of those who today, and into the future, will be impacted by harmful alcohol consumption.

The Report and Final Report stages of the Public Health Alcohol Bill is scheduled to commence at 16.50, Wednesday 19thSeptember.