The Institute of Public Health in Ireland welcomes the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill being discussed at the second stage in Dáil Eireann tonight, Tuesday 27 February 2018. It is hopeful that the Alcohol Bill will progress past this second stage this week without further delay.
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.
Ireland’s alcohol consumption is among the highest in Europe and well above the European average. As seen in the recent Irish Health Survey 2017 by the Central Statistics Office, binge drinking in Ireland is prevalent among 39% of drinkers – up 2016’s figures of 37%. Binge drinking is defined by the World Health Organization as the consumption of 6 or more standard drinks in one sitting and can further increase the risks of disease. 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.