As this week (28 May, 2018) marks the passing of 900 days since the Public Health Alcohol Bill began its legislative passage through the Houses of the Oireachtas, Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland has called on the Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, to renew his focus and advance the legislation.

Since then, sadly the shocking levels of alcohol related harms have continued unabated:

  • 2,700 deaths were alcohol related; that is three per day, over 1,000 per year.
  • 9,894 cases of alcohol related self-harm have been treated.
  • 1.35 million hospital beds have been lost to alcohol related illnesses at a cost of €1.1 billion.
  • 762,451 days of alcohol related absenteeism at a cost of €126m.

While recent Technical Barrier-to-Trade Comments from the EU Commission on aspects of the re-notified Bill will add a time delay to final enactment, Committee Stage for the Bill can be debated by Dáil Éireann and completed over the coming weeks.

Commenting the situation, Prof Frank Murray, Chair, Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland and Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Policy Group on Alcohol, said:

Every day we continue to see the devastating impact of alcohol on peoples’ lives. The levels of alcohol related harms across our society are utterly avoidable if reasonable measures are taken to combat our harmful relationship with alcohol.

The Public Health Alcohol Bill, and its many innovative and reasonable measures, remains the most urgent action needed to achieve the modest reduction in alcohol consumption required. Our politicians of all parties, and none, must now prioritise the health and wellbeing of our citizens and desist from protecting the vested interests of the alcohol industry whose central objective is to further delay.

Grainia Long, CEO, ISPCC (Alliance Member) said:

“This week we published the 2017 statistics for ISPCC Childline. Alcohol misuse in the home is the backdrop to many of the calls and contacts we receive from children all over the country. It often contributes to violence in the home and can have a detrimental impact on family relationships.

This trend was also recorded by Dr Geoffrey Shannon, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, in his report last year on Garda use of emergency child protection powers; alcohol was prominent in the numerous cases reviewed and it was clear that alcohol abuse places an increasing burden on the child protection system.

Our society’s relationship with alcohol needs to be tackled as a matter of urgency and the passing into law of the Public Health Alcohol Bill is one step towards this.”


The latest set of polling data demonstrated that the public remain fully supportive of the actions being proposed with an overwhelming majority urging government action.

The opinion poll was commissioned by Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland and conducted by Ireland Thinks. It demonstrated overwhelming public support for Government adopting the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, and all its provisions:

  • 92% agree alcohol consumption is too high
  • 78% are concerned about children and their exposure to alcohol
  • 74% support Government intervention to reduce alcohol consumption and to protect people from alcohol-related harm
  • 82% support Government action to curb alcohol marketing that appeals to young people


Editor Note:

Full detail of the Ireland Thinks polling data is available at:

The Public Health Alcohol Bill was presented to Seanad Eireann on 10 December 2015 by Leo Varadkar TD, then Minister for Health.


The Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland is representative of over 50 members, including many of the country’s leading spokespeople from a range of medical professions and clinical expertise, as well as specifically related Non-Governmental Agencies, who together have been advocating for this historic legislation to be enacted.

The Alcohol Health Alliance was established by Alcohol Action Ireland and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI), and brings together a wide range of public health campaigners whose mission is to reduce the harm caused by alcohol In Ireland.


For further information, contact:


Eunan McKinney                              Yvonne McCahill

Alcohol Action Ireland                    Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

M: 087 995 0186                               M: 086 7723056