The Institute of Public Health in Ireland welcomes the passing of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill through the Second Stage in the Dáil yesterday, 06 March, 2018. The Bill will now go to the Committee Stage.
The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill includes a range of measures aiming to reduce the levels of consumption of alcohol in Ireland, with current estimates at approximately 11 litres of pure alcohol per person (aged 15+) per year.
Speaking in Dáil Éireann, Minister for Health Simon Harris TD highlighted Ireland’s relationship with alcohol, “Alcohol consumption in our country is not low. Let us debunk that myth. Ireland is the fourth heaviest-drinking nation in the OECD in terms of the quantity of alcohol consumed. Recently published figures from the Central Statistics Office show that Irish people between the ages of 18 and 24 are top in the EU for binge drinking, that is, drinking six or more drinks on one occasion. Ireland also ranks joint third for binge drinking in a World Health Organization analysis of 194 countries.”
The Alcohol Bill includes measures to progress minimum unit pricing, labelling of alcoholic beverages to include health warnings and separation of alcohol from other goods in premises where alcohol is sold. The introduction of minimum unit pricing will act as a means to address social inequalities in terms of alcohol related harms.
IPH has provided evidence on Alcohol Policy to both departments of health on the island of Ireland.
In partnership with the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, IPH is currently undertaking a review of the New Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs Strategy Phase 2 (NSD-2) 2011-2016. The aim of this review is to engage with relevant stakeholders to determine factors influencing the delivery of actions set out within NSD-2. It is hoped that this review will inform future alcohol and drug related policy in Northern Ireland.