Charities demand Govt action on alcohol abuse in Ireland

Charities demand Govt action on alcohol abuse in Ireland

The Government is being urged to deal with the alcohol abuse problem in Ireland, sooner rather than later.

Two national charities say the troubled Alcohol Action Plan should be considered in order to reduce the cost of alcohol-related harm.

Alcohol Action Ireland and Depaul Ireland are holding a seminar on the issue in Dublin today.

It is more than three years since a government-appointed expert group first met to draw up a national alcohol strategy.

Since then, the Alcohol Action Plan has had a bumpy road, with reports of divisions among Government ministers emerging over some aspects, including a ban on sports sponsorship as well as the introduction of minimum pricing.

Today, two national charities are asking the Government to consider the report as a matter of urgency.

Fiona Ryan, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland, said: "We know that there is opposition from senior ministers to these recommendations and I suppose the question will be 'how far is this government willing to go to resolve our alcohol problem?'

"It is a balance, to reduce alcohol-related harm, you have to reduce consumption. Reducing consumption has an impact on revenue."

Alcohol related harm costs the state around three billion euro a year and around two thousand hospital beds every night.

CEO of Depaul Ireland, Kerry Anthony, said that is not to mention the physical effects it has on individuals.

She said: "The impact on people's physical health, issues to do with premature ageing, liver disease, diabetes, we spend a great deal of our time trying to support the people we are working with to reduce their alcohol intake, to think differently about their alcohol and to engage properly in caring for themselves with our support."

Both groups say in the run-up to St Patrick's day, the time is right for the Government to redefine Ireland's relationship with alcohol.

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