Alcohol Action Ireland has welcomed the commencement of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, which happened earlier this month. The health lobby group said the move marked “a major milestone for the proposed legislation at a time when alcohol consumption in Ireland continues to rise and alcohol harms have never been more pronounced.”
Once enacted, the bill would introduce minimum pricing for alcohol, along with significant restrictions on the marketing and advertising of alcohol products.
Alcohol Ireland says the bill was significantly weakened during its Seanad stage last December, on foot of heavy lobbying from the drinks industry. Last month it emerged that 11 ministers, 15 TDs, 21 senators, and ten ministerial advisors had been lobbied.
But Alcohol Action Ireland said the bill’s central principles had remained intact, and that it had been strengthened in some areas. “What goes to Dáil Éireann now is the most progressive piece of public health legislation advanced by any government in recent times,” according to its head of communications and advocacy Eunan Mckinney.
The bill has widespread support from health groups and children’s’ advocates. As well as Alcohol Action Ireland, they include Barnardo’s, the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, the Irish Heart Foundation and the Irish Cancer Society.