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LETTER: Opportunity to reduce alcohol harm in Ireland

May 28th, 2016 5:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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SIR – We welcome the Government commitment to enacting the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill in the Programme for a Partnership Government and fully support its prompt progression through the Oireachtas.

This long-awaited legislation, which has cross-party support in the Oireachtas, has already concluded second stage in the Seanad and can quickly be enacted and become law within the first 100 days of this Government, if the political will is there to finally tackle our harmful relationship with alcohol in Ireland.

Harmful alcohol consumption in Ireland costs the State €2.35 billion annually in providing healthcare, policing and enforcement, and other services. We know that alcohol harm not only affects the individual drinker, but also affects others around them, including their children and other family members, friends, co-workers and the wider community.

The lack of a progressive alcohol policy in Ireland to date has resulted in children’s lives being blighted by alcohol misuse resulting from parental addiction and contributing to financial difficulties, family breakdown, neglect and abuse.

The measures within the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill are a very important and positive first step in our efforts to reduce alcohol harm and improve the health, safety and wellbeing of our people. Most importantly, this legislation will save lives and improve the quality and quantity of life for many of our citizens.

Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland – the first public health advocacy coalition formed on alcohol, is calling on the new partnership Government to tackle these urgent problems now by enacting the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill without further delay. This will lead to immediate improvements in the health and wellbeing of our people as well as a huge economic benefit in our society. 

We look forward to supporting our public representatives in this initiative.

Yours sincerely,

Prof Frank Murray, 

President of RCPI 

and chairman of 

Alcohol Health 

Alliance Ireland.

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