Statement in support of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill
October 5th, 2017
The 24 Local and Regional Drugs and Alcohol Task Forces have, for the past number of years, made continuous efforts to support local communities as they deal with the harm caused by excessive and harmful drinking. Alcohol misuse manifests itself in a number of profoundly damaging ways which are more than evident in local communities. This includes, local public disorder, damage and vandalism, domestic violence and family distress, loss and financial difficulty, accidents and fatalities, underage younger and younger drinking, illness (including advanced liver disease in younger people), and addiction.
The Local and Regional DATFs have made huge efforts and some inroads towards changing the fatalistic attitude evident in our communities that, because we’re Irish, nothing can be done to reverse our excessive drinking and drunken culture. Communities have embarked on ambitious strategies to change how alcohol is viewed and used with the aim of improving overall local health and wellbeing, supporting people to model healthier behaviour around alcohol for their children’s benefit. Much is being done at grass-roots level. But this bottom-up approach requires the backing of our national political leaders so that communities feel supported from the top down too. Local communities need to see the end of the ambivalence which has slowed the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill to an almost complete stop.
The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill is a vital step in Ireland’s attempts to curb the damage alcohol continues to create. It sets out measures in the following areas: minimum unit pricing, strict separation of alcohol products in outlets, compulsory health-labelling on alcohol containers, restrictions on advertising and promotions and its goal is to reduce average annual consumption in Ireland from 11 to 9.1 litres per person by 2020. The Local and Regional Drugs and Alcohol Task Forces strongly urge that the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill is enacted in full and is not allowed to be diluted by the influence of those who profit so much from the sale of alcohol.