“There’s clear evidence that excessive use of alcohol is associated with poor physical and mental health and wellbeing,” she stated, “In Ireland our alcohol consumption levels are high and binge-drinking is commonplace. This pattern of drinking is causing significant harm to individuals, their families and society. Alcohol use and misuse is a complicated challenge for society.”
The Minister went on to point out, “Askaboutalcohol.ie and the information campaign are an important first step in enabling people to manage their own drinking. This website and the associated campaign will play an important role in providing public health information on alcohol. Simple yet effective tools like the drinks calculator will empower people to assess their drinking habits and make informed choices to improve their health and wellbeing. I’d encourage everyone to go online, get more information and manage their own drinking. The website will also be a useful resource for health services workers and those working in the field.
“We need to reduce our alcohol intake as a nation. The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will help to address this. The Bill is a measured and evidence-based response to deal with the very real harms caused by alcohol,” she claimed “The Bill provides for: Minimum Unit Pricing to eliminate very cheap alcohol from stores; health-labelling on alcohol products to inform consumers; separation in stores to restrict location and visibility; restrictions on advertising and marketing; regulation of sponsorship and regulation of the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol products.
“I’m currently reflecting on the discussions to date in the Oireachtas in relation to the provisions contained in the Public Health Alcohol Bill and I will be bringing the Bill back to the Seanad as soon as possible,” she concluded, “ I’m committed to ensuring that this will be a robust and effective public health measure which will significantly reduce alcohol misuse in our society.”
According to sources in the trade, the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will be reintroduced into the Seanad in the coming weeks as the Minister intends to progress with the legislation “despite the opposition”.