independent advocate reducing alcohol harm

Podcast series ‘The Alcohol File’

‘The Alcohol File’ is a podcast produced by Alcohol Action Ireland providing independent analysis of our societal preoccupation with alcohol.

Our latest episode


Growing Up with Parental Problem Alcohol Use

In this episode, Marion Rackard, psychotherapist, addiction counsellor and co-founder of Alcohol Action Ireland’s initiative Silent Voices & Mick Devine, Clinical Director with the Tabor Group  discuss the therapeutic considerations  when counselling adults impacted by parental problem alcohol use.
The production of this podcast was supported by funding from the Mental Health Grant Scheme for Community and Voluntary Groups.

Reform of alcohol licensing laws: a problem needing a solution or an opportunity to create different drinking occasions and further normalise alcohol use?

With the proposed ‘Sale of Alcohol Bill’ likely to be approved by government in the autumn, will greater availability of, and access to, alcohol into the early morning alleviate any pressing societal issue or merely extend commercial opportunity for alcohol producers, merchants and retailers? The expansion of the night time economy is desirable but should the reward for cultural expression be sustained through more alcohol profits and greater alcohol harm?

This podcast explores the consequences of licensing reform and the need to retain a focus on defined public health objectives.  The podcast features: Dr Helen McAvoy, Director of Policy, Institute for Public Health in Ireland, and Prof. Niamh Fitzgerald, Professor of Alcohol Policy at Institute of Social Marketing & Health, at University of Stirling, Scotland

The lure of alcohol marketing: is it nurturing a lifetime alcohol use?

This podcast explores the world of alcohol marketing: how effective are their campaigns, and who are the principal targets for their strategies and why self-regulation is not meaningful control. The podcast features: Dr Amanda Marie Atkinson, a Senior Researcher within the Public Health Institute, at Liverpool John Moores University; Dr Nathan Critchlow, a SSA academic fellow at the Institute for Social Marketing and Health, University of Stirling, and Jennifer Haugh, Research and Policy Officer at Alcohol Action Ireland.

Harnessing our health data. If we don’t measure it, we can’t manage it.

The podcast features speakers from public health research and advocacy including Dr Zubair Kabir (UCC School of Public Health), Anne Doyle (Health Research Board) and Dr Lesley Graham and Ms Elinor Jayne, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP).

This podcast and the research on the alcohol burden in Ireland as demonstrated by GBD data have been supported by the Irish Research Council under a New Foundations Grant.

Can Minimum unit pricing make a real difference to reducing alcohol harm?

In this episode, Eunan McKinney discusses with Alison Douglas of Alcohol Focus Scotland and Nic Taylor from Deakin University in Australia, the early indications from both Scotland and Northern Territory, AU, the effectiveness of this public health measure in addressing harmful alcohol use and reducing related harm.

This discussion is introduced by Minister Frank Feighan, TD, Minister for Public Health, who was instrumental in advancing the commencement of MUP in Ireland.

Special Edition: An insight into the trauma and complex impact of living with parental problem alcohol use.

Part One

In this episode Marion Rackard, co-founder of Alcohol Action Ireland’s initiative: Silent Voices, discusses the psychological implications of growing up with alcohol harm in the home with Stephanie Brown, PhD, licensed psychologist, researcher and author of Treating Adult Children of Alcoholics: A developmental Perspective.

This 2-part podcast is supported by the Irish Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists and Addiction Counsellors of Ireland. It is particularly suitable for therapists working in this area.

Part Two

Season 2 Episode Three

In this episode, Eunan McKinney discusses with Dr Denise MacCarthy and Dr Eleanor O’Sullivan, two women who over the last decade have been at the vanguard of raising public awareness about mouth cancers, about the real risk to alcohol users of attributable cancers, the work of Mouth Cancer Awareness Day and the importance of prevention and early detection.


Season 2 Episode Two

Season 2: Episode One

Episode Six: Progressive alcohol policy – gaining ground but how to win the war?
In this episode, Eunan McKinney discusses with Dr Matthew Lesch (University of York), Lauri Beekman (NORDan) and Dr Peter Rice (SHAAP), what were the major learnings from the advocacy experience in Ireland to advance progressive public health alcohol policy, and what interdependent strategies – coalition building; health messaging and political tactics – could be adopted, more widely, to ensure a transition from policy adoption to effective implementation.

Episode One: What is alcohol doing for our health?
In this episode, Eunan McKinney discusses with Prof. Frank Murray, former President of the RCPI and chair, Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland, Dr. John Ryan, Consultant Hepatologist and Dr. Bobby Smyth, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, a number of issues relating to how damaging alcohol can be to our physical and mental health – a brief ‘A to Z’ to understanding the specific issues and the impact on our health services and the wider society.


Episode Two: What is alcohol is doing to our children?
In this episode, Eunan McKinney discusses with Prof. Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, Professor in Health Promotion, NUI Galway, Dr Norah Campbell, Associate Professor in Marketing at Trinity Business School and Dr Sheila Gilheany, CEO, Alcohol Action Ireland, a number of issues relating to children and alcohol: the experience children have with alcohol through their teenage years; consider how are our children recruited into alcohol use so young; what are the principal drivers behind this behaviour, and what is the impact of alcohol marketing in recruiting children to an alcohol lifestyle?


Episode Three: The bad economics of alcohol.
In this episode, Eunan McKinney discusses with Aveek Bhattacharya, Chief Economist at the Social Market Foundation (UK), and Professor Joe Barry, Adjunct Professor of Public Health Medicine at TCD, a number of issues relating to the economic impacts of our harmful alcohol use; what is the economic cost to a society that leaves such excessive use of alcohol unchecked; and what is the ‘untold’ story of the external harms from Others’ drinking.


Episode Four: The importance of global alcohol policy in tackling alcohol use.
In this episode, Eunan McKinney discusses with Carina Ferreira-Borges, Programme Manager, Alcohol and Illicit Drugs & Prison Health, WHO European Office for Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases; Colin Angus, Senior Research Fellow, Sheffield Alcohol Research Group, University of Sheffield, and Prof. Karine Gallopel-Morvan, School of Public Health (Rennes, France); and Honorary Professor at the University of Stirling (Scotland), a number of issues relating to the development of progressive alcohol policy, the rational of the WHO’s policy “best buys’ for national implementation and the challenges that lie ahead for the next phase of global and regional strategies to reduce harmful use of alcohol.


Episode Five: Silent Voices – ending the silence on the impact of parental problem alcohol use.
In this episode, Eunan McKinney discusses with Carol Fawsitt, Marion Rackard and Barbara Whelan, the founders of ‘Silent Voices’ – an initiative by Alcohol Action Ireland – that aims to break a peculiarly Irish taboo on discussing the impact of harmful drinking on children. It explores their motivation to sustain this initiative, reflects on what has been achieved so far and examines what needs to be done by a variety of stakeholders to help improve the lives of 200,000 Irish children, and the adult children of today, who everyday live with the impact and consequences of this experience.

Latest Reports

Stakeholders’ Targeted Consultation EU4Health Annual Work Programme 2024

The EU4Health Programme is the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to build a strong European Health Union by supporting legislative and non-legislative Union health priorities. The EU4Health Programme was adopted in March 2021 with a budget of EUR 5.3 billion over the period 2021-27.
This represents an unprecedented level of financial commitment for the Union in health.

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Zero Alcohol Policy Briefing

AAI has in recent years been highlighting the marketing of zero alcohol products, in particular how they are used to circumvent advertising restrictions under Ireland’s Public Health Alcohol Act (PHAA).

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AAI Annual Review 2022

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