The Public Health Alcohol Bill was drafted to help reduce alcohol consumption in Ireland and to minimise the harms associated with alcohol.
It is long overdue and should have been passed when it was before the Seanad a year ago.
Fianna Fáil supports the aims and objectives of the Bill and I am keen to see it enacted without delay.
Over the past number of months I’ve received hundreds of calls and emails regarding the Public Health Alcohol Bill. This is a Public Health issue and the Bill is designed to reduce the visibility of alcohol in Ireland.
I agree with Professor Frank Murray, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance that we need to recognise there is an issue with harmful drinking in Ireland. He said, “This legislation is an important first step to deal with the catastrophic consequences of Ireland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol. We believe the evidence-based measures contained in the Bill will turn down the tap of cheap alcohol for problem drinkers and young drinkers”.
Alcohol is associated with 2,000 beds being occupied every night in Irish acute hospitals, one-quarter of injuries presenting to emergency departments and over half of attendances to specialised addiction treatment centres. It is my belief this legislation is long overdue and needs to be enacted without delay.