advocating to reduce alcohol harm

Alcohol Health Alliance to support Public Health (Alcohol) Bill

Independent alliance will bring public health perspective to alcohol debate

The Alcohol Health Alliance is new initiative to support the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, a new piece of legislation that has the potential to significantly reduce the harm caused by alcohol consumption in Ireland, has been launched today.

The Alcohol Health Alliance will work together to:

  • Highlight the rising levels of alcohol-related health harm
  • Propose evidence-based solutions to reduce this harm
  • Campaign for the implementation of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015
  • Advocate for positive action to address the damage caused by alcohol misuse

The Alcohol Health Alliance, which was set up by The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, and Alcohol Action Ireland, will bring together a wide range of public health campaigners including medical professionals, NGOs and charities whose mission is to reduce the damage caused to health by alcohol misuse.

The Alliance is guided by World Health Organisation recommendations that “the alcohol industry has no role in the formulation of alcohol policies, which must be protected from distortion by commercial or vested interests”.

Professor Frank Murray, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and a liver specialist, who chairs the Alliance, commended the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar and the Government for the introduction of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.

“This legislation is an important first step to deal with the catastrophic consequences of Ireland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol. We believe the evidence-based measures contained in the Bill will turn down the tap of cheap alcohol for problem drinkers and young drinkers. In particular, we welcome the introduction of minimum unit pricing of alcohol, enforcement measures around the sale of alcohol to young people and the regulation of alcohol advertising. We commend the Government in taking on the vested interests of the alcohol industry and putting the best interests of the citizens first. We are calling on others to join us and register their support for this legislation.”

Suzanne Costello, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland:The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill marks the first time an Irish Government will legislate to tackle alcohol harm and therefore offers us a unique opportunity to finally begin to address one of the most significant public health issues in Ireland today.

“The Alcohol Health Alliance brings together a number of strong advocates with medical and public health expertise who are campaigning to bring about a meaningful change in our harmful relationship with alcohol. These advocates support the evidence-based measures that target alcohol pricing, availability and marketing, which have been shown to have the greatest impact in reducing alcohol harm and can have the most positive impact on our harmful drinking environment and culture.

It is particularly important that those with expertise in this area are heard on this issue given the ongoing efforts of the alcohol industry to lobby against the public health measures, which are so urgently needed to reduce the huge toll that its products take on our society, such as those limiting children and young people’s exposure to alcohol marketing, including advertising and sponsorship.”