Strategic Measures Will Address our Serious Over-Consumption of Alcohol

Today I published a government-approved package of measures, which for the first time will comprehensively address our societal misuse of alcohol.

This is a landmark day. It is the first time alcohol misuse has been addressed as a public health issue. The Government has recognised the severe consequences of the misuse of alcohol – including deaths, injuries and social and financial problems – and has determined to take action to address this problem. The package of measures to be implemented is the result of intensive discussions across Government departments, and will include provision for minimum unit pricing for alcohol products and the regulation of advertising and marketing of alcohol.

To implement this range of measures, the Government approved the drafting of the first ever piece of public health legislation to address the problem – the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.

The package of measures is based on the 2012 Substance Misuse Report. The Report correctly identified that the misuse of alcohol could only be addressed through a range of complementary measures rather than one particular measure. This range of measures is the result of intensive discussions across Government departments. I compliment the time and energy my government colleagues shared with me to advance this major public health initiative. I look forward to their continued support as we progress this much needed legislation.

Urgent yet considered action is required. The average Irish person over the age of 15 is consuming the equivalent of a bottle of vodka a week. Tragically we see the results of alcohol misuse every day in our A&E Departments and regrettably more widely in every community across Ireland. These measures will help address our problem of alcohol misuse and hopefully rebuild an environment where responsible consumption of alcohol is the norm.