- Five main parties renew their commitment to the full implementation of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act including Minimum Unit Pricing.
- Six parties outline commitment to other initiatives with public health alcohol policy.
Alcohol Action today (Monday, 2nd Feb) published an overview of the central commitments within the manifestos of the political parties running candidates in the forthcoming election.
Five of eight of the political parties have renewed their commitment to see full implementation of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act, which was enacted in October 2018 but remains largely incomplete with major measures such as Minimum unit pricing, Content of advertising, Broadcast watershed and labelling of alcohol products yet to be commenced.
Six parties have further made significant commitments in their manifestos to advancing public health measures around alcohol addiction, harm and treatment.
Alcohol Action Ireland Election 2020 manifesto (published 23 January) highlighted a five-point plan to renew Ireland’s Public Health alcohol strategy, namely:
- Coherent implementation of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018,
- the establishment of a state-sponsored Office to lead on alcohol policy,
- a childhood free from alcohol harm,
- services for all affected by alcohol harm, and
- review Ireland’s Low-risk Drinking Guidelines.
Commenting on the commitment of the political parties, Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications and Advocacy, Alcohol Action Ireland, said:
“We are very pleased to have such a strong commitment from the political parties, and their candidates, to tackling the corrosive impact of alcohol in our society. The Public Health (Alcohol) Act has a very achievable target of reducing alcohol consumption by 20% over a seven-year period but this can only be achieved if the Act is implemented in full, with renewed vigour.
Having made such a strong commitment to implementing the existing legislation, we will be speaking to all parties after the election to ensure these commitments are central to any Programme for Government to be agreed.”
A brief synopsis of the commitments from the political parties is listed below:
- Fianna Fail
‘Promote public health
Equally we accept that we need to implement robust policies to reduce alcohol dependence.
Implement the Public Health (Alcohol) Act.
Introduce Minimum Unit Pricing in conjunction with Northern Ireland. (p.42)
Improve health outcomes for people with dual/multi diagnosis by ensuring greater collaboration between drug and alcohol services and general mental health services.’ (p.45)
- Fine Gael
‘The implementation of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act will be instrumental in reducing harm from excessive alcohol consumption.
We will honour our longstanding commitment to introduce Minimum Unit Pricing at the same time as its introduction in Northern Ireland, to ensure that cross-border price differentials do not undermine its effectiveness. (p.17)
We will support secondary schools to introduce drug and alcohol awareness programmes building on recent initiatives at junior and senior cycle to ensure that our young people leave secondary school with an understanding of the consequences of drug and alcohol misuse.’ (p.17)
- Sinn Fein
‘Sinn Féin will implement policies which support sport and health-enhancing physical activity, tackle harmful health habits such as excessive alcohol consumption, problem gambling, drug use and addiction, tackle obesity and poor eating habits, and other problem areas.
Increasing supports for problem drinking, problem gambling, and drug use and addiction. (p.55)
Drug and alcohol misuse are primarily public health issues. Harm reduction and prevention are
guiding principles for Sinn Féin in the development of future drug and alcohol strategies. (p.61)
Ensure a minister who sits at the cabinet table is given responsibility to tackle this crisis.’ (p.62)
- Green Party
‘Fully enacting all provisions of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act. (p.55)
Improve access to medical services, drugs and alcohol treatment and in particular, mental health services for prisoners.’ (p.63)
‘Labour will ensure that the Public Health Alcohol Act, including Minimum Unit Pricing, is implemented in full.
We will expand the availability of addiction treatment services across the country, recognising that substance misuse is now prevalent in every part of the country.’
- Social Democrats
‘Fully enact and implement the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018
Expand the provision of addiction services across the country. (p.23)
We would raise €300m from a series of taxation increases on alcohol over a series of budgets. An extra 10c excise duty on alcohol would yield about €150m each time you do it.’ (p.119)
Neither Aontu nor People before Profit/Solidarity made any commitments in their manifestos.