Alcohol Action launches ‘End The Silence’ series of events – 18-26 October

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, is launching its inaugural ‘End the Silence’ series of events and activities: 18—26 October, which aims to raise awareness of the 600,000 people (200,00 children and 400,000 adults) in Ireland affected by parental problem alcohol use in their lives.  

 The daily experience of living with problem drinking in the home can cause great trauma for children, which, when disregarded, can lead to serious issues for those same children in adulthood.  

Research shows that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can cause toxic stress which is harmful for a child’s development and academic studies show that children who grow up in homes where there is parental problem alcohol use are more likely to experience additional adverse experiences such as emotional neglect, poverty and domestic violence.  

Unfortunately, this serious issue in Ireland remains unspoken; a silence that sustains the problem. 

As a people – citizens, public officeholders and policymakers – we must do more to recognise and support those experiencing this hidden harm.  


Welcoming this series of events, Professor Geoffrey Shannon, Patron of Alcohol Action Ireland said: 

One of the biggest challenges facing our society is the adverse consequences for the welfare of many children posed by alcohol. We have the evidence from multiple reports of the very damaging effect on children. The failure by society to address alcohol harm is a fundamental problem, which places an insurmountable burden on many state services including the child protection system. 


Dr. Sheila Gilheany, CEO, Alcohol Action Ireland said: 

We want ‘End the Silence’ to become an annual event that encourages a national conversation. By amplifying the voices of those who cannot be heard, and creating a better understanding of people’s needs, we hope these issues, which impact across multiple government agencies and offices, can begin to be adequately addressed. 


As Budget 2022 is being finalised, there is a real opportunity for government to establish specific investment in primary care psychology services that can urgently tackle chronic waiting times and meet the needs of both children and adults impacted by the long shadow of parental problem alcohol use. 


The events of this series includes: 


18 October, Webinar 

Online: 19.00-21.00 

Parental Problem Alcohol Use: Living and coping with a legacy of trauma 

Stephanie Brown, PhD. Licensed psychologist, author, researcher, consultant and lecturer in the field of addiction 


A Public talk followed by panel discussion with the Founding Voices of Silent Voices. 

Book your place at: 


21 October, Film Screening 

The Ark, Dublin: 15.30 – 16.30 

A screening of Annika Cassidy’s provocative film: ‘Peel’ 

followed by discussion with the film maker hosted by one of the Founding Voices of Silent Voices. 

Book your place at: 


26 October 

Where the light enters: hope and healing through trauma informed education 

Online: 14.00 – 21.00 

Keynote speaker Gabor Maté. 

Online event with Maynooth University for those working in education. An afternoon/evening of conversation, learning and reflecting on education, trauma-informed practice, relationships and compassion. 


Alcohol Action are encouraging a wide audience of stakeholders to use the creative assets (available here) throughout the week to highlight the specific details of the impact from parental problem alcohol use. 


We envisage that this will be an annual event that allows personal stories and the best available evidence to come together to amplify the voices of those experiencing this hidden problem and to let others know – you are not alone. 


AAI’s ongoing ‘Silent Voice’ initiative calls for a whole-of-government approach to tackle childhood adversity arising from parental problem substance use with an identifiable senior official appointed with specific responsibility to advise, develop and plan appropriate policies and services. 




Notes to editors 

  1. Silent Voices is an Alcohol Action Ireland initiative to raise awareness of the issues arising for those impacted by parental problem alcohol use. 
  2. Research indicates 200,000 children in Ireland are living with the trauma of alcohol in the home and a further 400,000 adults are living with the legacy of this trauma. 
  3. Many people have shared their personal stories of this experience at our Shared Voices site. 
  4. Alcohol Action Ireland has highlighted the key strategic actions which are needed to address this problem.