Press release: Urgent call from more than 65 groups and advocates for government to assess implications of increased alcohol availability 

February 8, 2024. More than 65 health, social and community organisations, academics and advocates, have come together to voice strong opposition to proposed measures in the Sale of Alcohol bill that will dramatically increase the number of venues serving alcohol, as well as significantly extending the opening hours of pubs, bars and nightclubs.

The open letter to the three government party leaders – An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, and Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan – is an urgent call for this government to fully assess the implications of increased alcohol availability.

CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland Dr Sheila Gilheany said: “This letter shows the deep disquiet in the health and social community and makes a shared call for an immediate health impact assessment (HIA) of this legislation to be carried out. We have been calling for this from the very start of this legislative process and the question must be asked – why doesn’t this government want to carry out a HIA?

“We, and all of the organisations listed (66), from health to community groups, to academics and individuals, are simply asking the government to know what the health, social and financial costs of these proposals will be before they jump into it. This is not too much to ask.

To date, the Minister for Justice, when asked about plans for a HIA has hidden behind references to consultations which have already been carried out. Such consultations provide useful views, but they do not replace the need for specific data on the numbers and funding levels of Gardaí, medical, social and transport services which will be required to deal with the fallout from this legislation.

While it appears that government is not troubled about these issues, polling on this bill highlights that the public are certainly worried with 67% of people concerned about the potential impact on public services (such as Emergency Departments, ambulances, Gardaí, and transport) due to the proposed extension of opening hours for pubs, late bars, and clubs.

We look forward to hearing a response from the party leaders on this matter without further delay.”

Editor’s notes:

For media enquiries and interview requests, please contact:

Conor Keane, AAI Communications Officer,

Tel: 087 995 0186


Read the full letter and see the full list of signatories here:

Sale-of-Alcohol-Bill-open-letter-new.pdf (


  1. Dr Sheila Gilheany, CEO, Alcohol Action Ireland
  2. Prof Frank Murray, Chair, Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland
  3. Paula Leonard, CEO, Alcohol Forum
  4. Cllr Vincent Jackson, Chair, Ballyfermot Local Drug and Alcohol Taskforce
  5. Hugh Greaves, Coordinator, Ballymun Local Drug and Alcohol Taskforce
  6. Suzanne Connolly, CEO, Barnardos
  7. Prof John Ryan, Consultant Hepatologist and Founding Director, Irish Liver Foundation Charity, Beaumont Hospital
  8. Colm Walsh, Coordinator, Bray Local Drug and Alcohol Taskforce
  9. Tanya Ward, Chief Executive, Children’s Rights Alliance
  10. Trevor Bissett, Coordinator, Clondalkin Drug & Alcohol Task Force CLG
  11. Andrea Ryder, Manager Communication, External Affairs & Policy, College of Psychiatrists of Ireland
  12. Martin O’Connor, Assistant CEO, COPE Galway
  13. Gordon Kinsley, Cork and Kerry, Alcohol Strategy Group
  14. Aaron O’Connell, Chair, Cork Local Drug and Alcohol Taskforce
  15. Orlaith Kennedy, CEO, Dental Health Foundation
  16. Jim Ryan, Chairperson, DLR Drug & Alcohol Task Force
  17. Carol Moore, Trustee, Dual Diagnosis Ireland
  18. Damien Lynch and Dominic Foley, Chair and Honorary Secretary, Environmental Health Association of Ireland
  19. Scott Casson-Rennie, COO, FASD Ireland
  20. Evelyn Fanning, Chairperson Galway City Alcohol Forum
  21. Dr Caitríona McCarthy, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, HSE National Cancer Control Programme
  22. Dr Brian Osborne, Assistant Medical Director, ICGP
  23. Dr Owen Keane, Honorary Secretary of IAEM and Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Irish Association of Emergency Medicine
  24. Irish Cancer Prevention Network
  25. Amy Rose Harte, Head of Advocacy Campaigns, Irish Cancer Society
  26. Orla Fagan, National Lead, Irish Community Action on Alcohol (AFI)
  27. Chris Macy, Director of Advocacy and Patient Support, Irish Heart Foundation
  28. Dr John Cannon, President, Irish Medical Organisation
  29. Donna Price, Founder and Chairperson, Irish Road Victims Association
  30. Caroline Kennedy-Crawford, President, Irish Student Health Association
  31. Caroline O’Sullivan, Director of Services, ISPCC
  32. Prof Stephen Stewart, Consultant Hepatologist, Mater Hospital
  33. Colin Fowler, Director of Operations, Men’s Health Forum Ireland
  34. Fiona Coyle, CEO, Mental Health Reform
  35. Michael Lacey and Helen Ryan, Chairperson and Coordinator, Mid-West Regional Drug and Alcohol Forum
  36. Philip Maree, Service Lead, M-PACT, Moving Parents and Children Together
  37. Dr Eve Griffin, CEO, National Suicide Research Foundation
  38. Orla O’Connor, Director, National Women’s Council of Ireland
  39. John Williams, Operations Manager, No Name Club
  40. Andy Ogle, Coordinator, North Eastern Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force
  41. Susan Gray, Founder and Chairperson, PARC Road Safety Group
  42. Emmet Major, Planet Youth Coordinator, Western Region, Planet Youth
  43. Dr Maria O’Dwyer National Coordinator, Prevention and Early Intervention Network
  44. Dr Clíona Saidléar, Executive Director, Rape Crisis Network Ireland
  45. Siobhán Creaton, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
  46. Mary McDermott, CEO, Safe Ireland
  47. Ailbhe Smyth, Patron, Silent Voices, an initiative of Alcohol Action Ireland
  48. Keith Cassidy, Clinic Manager, Smarmore Castle Treatment Centre
  49. Gordon Kinsley, Development Worker, Southern Regional Drug and Alcohol Taskforce
  50. Grace Hill, Coordinator, Tallaght Drug & Alcohol Task Force
  51. Dr Frank Houghton, Director- Social Sciences ConneXions, Technological University of the Shannon
  52. Prof Norah Campbell, Trinity Business School and Co-Lead on the Commercial Determinants of Health Lab, Trinity College Dublin
  53. Dr Zubair Kabir, Senior Lecturer: Public Health & Epidemiology, University College Cork
  54. Prof Orla Crosbie, Consultant Hepatologist, University College Cork
  55. Prof Ray Walley, GP and Assoc. Clinical Professor General Practice, University College Dublin
  56. Paddy Creedon, Chair, Voices of Recovery, an initiative of Alcohol Action Ireland
  57. Joe O’Neill, Chair, Western Region Drug and Alcohol Taskforce
  58. Dr Hugh Gallagher, Integrated Alcohol Service, Addiction Services Dublin North City & County
  59. Marianne Beasley, Planning Law & Environmental Mgt. Consultant. Legal, Mediation & Arbitration Services
  60. John and Anne Higgins, Public Health Advocates, Ballina Co. Mayo
  61. Carol Fawsitt, Co-founder, Silent Voices; Former chair, Alcohol Action Ireland
  62. Anthony Cotter, Former Regional Director in the Probation Service, Dept of Justice.
  63. Patricia Kelly, Rhode, Co. Offaly
  64. Angela King, Dublin 2
  65. Dr Mary T O’Mahony, Consultant in Public Health Medicine
  66. Mick Devine, Specialist in addiction treatment