Gastroenterologists call on Government to tackle cheap alcohol

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Belfast conference hears of drink-related health crisis

From The Irish Times

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Irish Society of Gastroenterology has called for action to be taken against cheap alcohol.

The society is taking part in an all-island gastroenterology conference in Belfast where it also called for a 1 per cent levy on alcohol advertising and sponsorship.

It said the money raised could be used to fund an institute of alcohol studies, which could conduct research into alcohol harm reduction.

British and Irish gastroenterologists warned of a worsening alcohol-related crisis in healthcare and said they wanted to see better investment in hospital and community based treatment services.

Cheap drink in supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol stations has contributed to the increase of alcohol-related diseases in Ireland and Britain, the society said.

However an alcohol manufacturer and supplies association said “there is no proven link between alcohol consumption and marketing and sponsorship”.

Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland director Kathryn D’Arcy said “driving a culture change where it is no longer acceptable to drink to excess and misuse alcohol can only come about when there is a true partnership approach.

“Simply introducing another tax on an industry who employ over 60,000 people, pays over €2 billion in taxes and proudly exports over €1 billion worth of brands all over the world, in order to fund another quango will not achieve this.”