Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland welcomes the passage of the Public Health Alcohol Bill through Committee stage

Prof Frank Murray

Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland welcomes the passage of the Public Health Alcohol Bill through Committee stage in the Dáil and looks forward to its final passage in the Autumn.

It is more than 900 days since Leo Varadkar as Minister for Health introduced the Public Health Alcohol Bill. This is the first time that any Government has addressed our harmful relationship with alcohol in public health legislation and I welcome its passage at Committee stage in the Dáil today. I thank the Oireachtas Health Committee members for supporting this evidence-based legislation and look forward, to it finishing its lengthy journey through the Houses of the Oireachtas in the Autumn.

Professor Frank Murray

Chair, Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland

This legislation, which will introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol and provide information to consumers about these products as well as impose restrictions around alcohol advertising to protect children, has been frustrated and trivialised by powerful vested interests for too long.

In a targeted campaign to block and delay this Bill, the fact that 3 people die every day in Ireland due to alcohol has been totally forgotten. Today, one person will die due to an alcohol-related accident or incident, while 2 others will die due to alcohol-related illnesses such a cirrhosis and cancer.

Every day there are media reports of tragic deaths and events that are associated with unsafe alcohol consumption. Too many families are mourning the loss of their children, fathers, mothers, neighbours and friends. Our hospitals are struggling to cope with the burden of alcohol-related admissions, with 1,500 beds taken up every night due to alcohol which is unsustainable and impacting on far too many people.

There is widescale public support for this legislation and the passage of this Bill into law will provide a worthy legacy for this Government as a major step forward to changing our relationship with harmful alcohol use. I want to pay tribute to the Taoiseach, Minister for Health Simon Harris and Minister for Health Promotion Catherine Byrne for supporting this Bill’s progress and look forward to its enactment.

Professor Frank Murray

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.