Letter from Joe Barry, Alcohol Action Ireland Board Member

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From The Irish Times

Sir,  – It is very regrettable that the Government appears to be caving in to lobbying from the drinks industry in relation to alcohol policy. One would have thought as a country that we would have learnt the lesson of not allowing commercial interests to self-regulate.

Lessening the damage that alcohol causes in Ireland will principally affect the profits of the very powerful manufacturers and retailers of alcohol. Our population will benefit, our streets will be safer and the pressure on our beleaguered health service will lessen. Sure, the FAI and IRFU will have to look elsewhere to seek financial support  – they are being given more than five years to find new sponsors. Do members of the Government have so little confidence in our economic recovery prospects that they believe sporting bodies will need alcohol money in the long term to survive?

From research carried out on behalf of the Health Research Board published last week almost 80 per cent of the public believes the Government has a responsibility to implement public health measures in relation to alcohol and when asked whether the Government was doing enough to reduce alcohol consumption three times as many people answered No as Yes.

As well as being the right thing to do in the public interest, bringing forward public health alcohol legislation will be seen even in the short term as a very creditable achievement by this Government. I hope this issue makes its way onto the agenda for next week ’s Cabinet meeting.  – Yours, etc,


Professor of Population Health


Trinity College,