Government needs to show leadership and put public health first by implementing all the proposed alcohol harm-reduction measures in the national strategy

Alcohol Action Ireland welcomes the Department of Health’s indication that it will tackle the pricing, marketing and availability of alcohol

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol related issues, has called on the Government to implement in full the proposals intended for inclusion in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, which according to media reports have been circulated within Government in recent days.

“These proposals are effectively a blueprint for change. They contain a wide range of measures that could finally make a real and lasting impact when it comes to tackling this country’s harmful relationship with alcohol. However, for them to work, we need the Government, particularly at Ministerial level, to show leadership and ensure that the health and well being of the public is put before corporate and other vested interests who oppose some of these measures,” said Conor Cullen of Alcohol Action Ireland.

“We know that measures such as minimum pricing and the structural separation of alcohol in retail premises will have a positive impact on public health by helping to reduce alcohol consumption, but as well as looking at the supply of alcohol, it’s also essential that we tackle the demand for it by effectively regulating, through legislation, alcohol marketing, including advertising and sponsorship.

“Minister Alex White’s proposal to phase out alcohol sponsorship of sports is an opportunity to finally bring an end to the deeply worrying situation where our sporting organisations are being used as a vehicle by the alcohol industry to promote its products, particularly to the young people who are most at risk from them.

“We need to break the close links that exist between some of our healthiest activities and these unhealthy products that take such a toll on our society.   It’s in the interest of the public health and, in particular, our young people, who need to be protected from these powerful and sophisticated influences on their drinking behaviour and expectations,” said Mr Cullen.

“Young people’s drinking patterns have a direct effect on their health, development and welfare both in the short and long term and to say that children and young people are not influenced by alcohol sponsorship of sports is equivalent to saying that they only begin to see and hear on their 18th birthday.

“There is a significant evidence base which clearly shows that marketing, including advertising, sponsorship and other forms of promotion, increases the likelihood that adolescents will start to use alcohol, and to drink more if they are already using alcohol. This has been confirmed by several significant studies, including one systematic review that included over 38,000 young Europeans.

Alcohol costs the State over €3 billion every year, while the human and social costs are also huge, with three people dying from an alcohol-related illness every day in Ireland and a rapidly increasing number of young people being treated for alcohol-related health problems,” said Mr Cullen.

  “The proposals put forward by the Department of Health offer our Government the opportunity to save a lot of lives and a lot of money, while they also have the potential to significantly improve the health and well being of future generations of Irish people.”


For further information or comment please contact Conor Cullen, Communications Officer, Alcohol Action Ireland, on 01-8780610 or 087-9950186.