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Readers Blog: Alcohol Bill will reduce consumption and save lives

In the coming week the Public Health (Alcohol Bill) will go to committee stage in the Seanad.

After the decision by the Court of Session in Scotland to clear the way for Minimum Unit pricing to be introduced in Scotland there is now a very distinct possibility that Minimum Unit pricing may well become a reality in Ireland.

There is still a chance that the alcohol industry will challenge this ruling in the UK Supreme Court.

No doubt the lobbying to minimise the effect that the Public Health Alcohol Bill would have on the the price, availability and promotion of alcohol in Ireland has gone to another level, if that is possible, seen as it has been unrelenting since the early days of the birth of this Bill.

We read of IBEC and the Alcohol industry submitting amendments to the bill.

They say structural separation of alcohol in retail outlets would be costly and unmanageable and that as a result jobs could be lost, they also say that minimum unit pricing won’t work, they also believe advertising restrictions are too strict.

The purpose of this bill, in its entirety, should not be lost to the pressure of lobbying and perhaps threats of job losses and closures.

This Bill will save lives, it will reduce consumption, it will help to minimise the continuous bombardment of our children and grandchildren by alcohol companies advertising their product.

We can attribute three deaths per day to alcohol abuse, 547,500 hospital bed nights every year are occupied by people suffering from alcohol related illnesses, and alcohol is a contributing factor in at least 50% of suicides.

Our 19-year-old son David died by suicide in March 2011.

It states on his death certificate that alcohol was a contributing factor in his death, that information is there for a reason. I write this letter for that reason.

John Higgins

West View

Shanaghy Heights

Ballina, Co Mayo

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