Vintners Federation CEO supports Public Health Alcohol Bill

Update 10.28am: Publicans have said they are fully behind the implementation of the Public Health Alcohol Bill, which doctors say will save lives.

In an article in the leading medical journal, The Lancet, Ireland's status as the heaviest drinking nation in the OECD is highlighted.

Almost half of people under 15 have consumed alcohol and nearly two-thirds of 18 to 24-year-olds drink six or more standard drinks on a typical session.

Padraig Cribben from the Vintners Federation of Ireland said the price of alcohol in supermarkets is too cheap.

"That is one of the main reasons why we're having the problems that we're having and we have consistently called for the Government to introduce the Public Health Alcohol Bill - in particular, the minimum unit pricing and segregation in supermarkets so that this issue can be addressed once and for all," he said.

Earlier: A health expert is calling on the Government to introduce the Public Health Alcohol Bill as a matter of urgency in order to save lives.

The Bill, which was published in December 2015, by then Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, has not been passed by the Oireachtas in the intervening years.

Approximately 2,000 people in Ireland have died as a direct result of alcohol consumption since then.

New figures also show almost half of Irish children under the age of 15 have consumed alcohol.

The report in medical journal The Lancet, also reveal nearly two thirds of 18-24 year olds have six or more drinks on a night out.

The stats are being used by medical experts who want a law change to prevent the sale of cheap booze.

Minimum Unit Pricing, restrictions on advertising, as well as the introduction of health warnings on alcohol products are some of the measures which would be introduced through the Bill.

Professor Frank Murray is a liver specialist at Beaumount Hospital, and the

The Public Health Alcohol Bill was introduced almost two years ago. Since its introduction about 2,000 people in Ireland have died as a direct result of alcohol consumption," said the Chair of Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland, Professor Frank Murray.

Prof. Murray, a liver specialist at Beaumount Hospital, said a lack of action is costing lives.

"Everyday the Bill isn't enacted or is delayed is costing lives. I exhort that its pass through the Oireachtas is rapid," he said.

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