‘End the Silence’ begins today

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, today (Monday 18th October) marks the start of ‘End the Silence’ – a festival-style Series of Events, running from the 18—26 October, which aims to raise awareness of the estimated 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 and is harmful for a child’s development. 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 lasting legacy remains unspoken; a silence that sustains the problem. 

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

Commenting on the campaign, Dr. Sheila Gilheany, CEO, Alcohol Action Ireland said: 

We want our ‘End the Silence’ campaign – running over the next week, to encourage a national conversation. By amplifying the voices of those who have not, or cannot, be heard, and by 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. 


Welcoming this Series of Events, Professor Geoffrey ShannonPatron 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. 


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. 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: 16.00 – 17.00 

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. 

A festival-style 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. 





Notes to editors 

  1. Dr. Gabor Maté is a renowned international speaker, and bestselling author, sought after for his expertise on a range of topics including addiction, stress and childhood development. 
  2. Silent Voices is an Alcohol Action Ireland initiative to raise awareness of the issues arising for those impacted by parental problem alcohol use. 
  3. 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. 
  4. Many people have shared their personal stories of this experience at our Shared Voices site.