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Home > Seanad Debate: Senator Mary M. White: I call for an urgent debate with the Minister for Health on this national issue of alcohol abuse, suicide and the suffering from alcohol abuse in the country.

[Oireachtas] Seanad Debate: Senator Mary M. White: I call for an urgent debate with the Minister for Health on this national issue of alcohol abuse, suicide and the suffering from alcohol abuse in the country. (16 Jun 2011)

URL: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/seanad/2011/06/16/000...


Senator Mary M. White: The majority of my colleagues here in the Chamber would not be aware of the 71,000 hidden child carers who are looking after alcohol dependent parents. This is the fifth National Carer’s Week. It is estimated there are 71,000 children who have a reverse role in that they are looking after their parents. They are actually being the parents of the alcohol-addicted parents. They must feed their siblings, send them to school and see that they are adequately clothed. It is a national disgrace, and such a neglect, that these children are forgotten about and hidden because the families are ashamed to talk about the prevalence of alcohol in their families.

Alcohol Action Ireland has called for five significant steps that the Government could take to improve the situation, and I am highlighting one. I want the Minister for Health to come in and talk to us about it. It is to introduce a minimum price for alcohol, a floor price below which alcohol cannot be sold. Everyone here will be aware that the availability of alcohol in supermarkets and off-licences has been reduced, but we have a long way to go. Regularly, when I go shopping I cannot believe the price of a bottle of wine because all I think of is the consequences of its cheapness and what will happen when it is being consumed. I want to hear the Minister for Health on what he intends to do. We need a national debate on the price of alcohol.

 

When I produced my policy document, “What We Can Do About Suicide in the New Ireland”, I pointed out that one of the effective ways of preventing suicide was to reduce alcohol consumption. Half those who die from suicide have alcohol in their systems. I call for an urgent debate with the Minister for Health on this national issue of alcohol abuse, suicide and the suffering from alcohol abuse in the country. I hope we can talk about it next week.

 
Seanad Éireann Debate
Order of Business
16 June 2011
Vol. 208 No. 9

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