Press release: Who are you serving, Minister, the public or the alcohol industry? 

AAI is calling on Minister Helen McEntee to serve the public interest and carry out long-awaited Health Impact Assessment of the Sale of Alcohol bill  

29 May 2024

We note this week’s intervention by the alcohol industry – namely the VFI and the LVA – in relation to the proposed Sale of Alcohol Bill/Intoxicating Liquor Bill 2024. 

As usual, the industry makes a misrepresentation about the facts in order to advance their own agenda. They stated –   “the overwhelming majority of pubs in Ireland will continue to trade their usual trading hours.” 

This is simply not the case as every pub in the country will be open for an additional hour every night. And every pub in the country will be able to apply for an annual late bar permit, allowing them to stay open until 2:30am. 

Contrary to the framing used by industry, these measures – and not those in relation to nightclubs – are the most concerning, and crucially, they are not supported by the public.  (See polling data). 

CEO of AAI Dr Sheila Gilheany said: “Astonishingly, this proposed legislation is coming from the same department that is championing a zero-tolerance approach to domestic violence. Innovative real-world research around domestic violence and alcohol trading hours has shown that where trading hours of pubs increase, so does domestic violence. How can this minister square this away? Simply put, she is listening to vested interests over evidence and facts.” 

She added: “There is clear evidence from multiple other jurisdictions that increased availability of alcohol leads to a range of harms such as increased levels of violence, public disorder, hospital admissions and significant additional pressure on public services. To cite one such example – in Northern Ireland, licensing hours were extended in Oct 2021. Since then, alcohol related crime has increased by 17%.” 

AAI very much welcomed the statement by Taoiseach Simon Harris of 7 April that the proposals needed a ‘second look’. The well-established way to have a ‘second look’ is to carry out a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) as recommended by the Oireachtas Justice Committee in their pre-legislative scrutiny well over a year ago. 

There have been many calls for a HIA including from the Chair of the Road Safety Authority, the Chief Medical Officer and almost 80 organisations and advocates including the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine, mental health, children, domestic and sexual violence sectors. 

Any move to rush through this Bill before the summer recess without carrying out this important assessment is a slap in the face to the public, those working on the front line picking up the pieces of flawed government policy and to the democratic process. 

The question must be asked – why is the government delaying carrying out this assessment – could it be they are afraid of the results? 


For media enquiries and interview requests, please contact:   

Conor Keane  

 Tel: 087 995 0186   


Other useful resources:  

Media guide re non-stigmatising language