Organised and hosted by Brian Hayes, Irish MEP and Alyn Smith, Scottish MEP, the conference aimed to discuss the fight against alcohol harm and in particular the issue of setting a MUP for alcohol.
In her speech at the conference the Minister dealt with
- The level of consumption in Ireland
- The Public Health Alcohol Bill which includes provision for MUP of alcohol
- The harm caused by alcohol
- The cost of alcohol misuse
- The Scottish legal case relating to the introduction of a minimum unit cost for alcohol
“Ireland has a serious problem – we drink too much alcohol,” stated Minister Corcoran Kennedy, “When we drink, we tend to binge-drink. More than half of adult drinkers in the population are classified as harmful drinkers.”
She also pointed out that three people a day die as a result of alcohol misuse – more than the numbers killed on our roads. Every night at least 1,500 hospital beds are occupied as a result of alcohol misuse, she added.
“Our aim is to reduce alcohol consumption to the OECD average and to reduce binge-drinking,” she explained, “The Government is tackling this with the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill which is the first ever public health legislation on alcohol and among the most far-reaching in Europe. It will bring in MUP to tackle cheap alcohol, the separation of alcohol in stores to reduce availability and visibility, health and calorie labelling to give people more information about the risks they’re taking and also marketing and advertising restrictions.”
The Government has stated that it is committed to tackling alcohol misuse in Ireland and the widespread harm it causes through the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill which commenced Committee Stage in the Seanad recently and remains a priority for this Government.