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Home > RCPI and Alcohol Action Ireland establish Alcohol Health Alliance to support Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.

[Royal College of Physicians of Ireland] RCPI and Alcohol Action Ireland establish Alcohol Health Alliance to support Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. (05 Mar 2015)

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The Alcohol Health Alliance is a new initiative to support the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, a new piece of legislation that has the potential to significantly reduce the harm caused by alcohol consumption in Ireland, has been launched today, 5 March 2015.

The Alcohol Health Alliance will work together to:

  • Highlight the rising levels of alcohol-related health harm
  • Propose evidence-based solutions to reduce this harm
  • Campaign for the implementation of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015
  • Advocate for positive action to address the damage caused by alcohol misuse

The Alcohol Health Alliance, which was established by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and Alcohol Action Ireland, will bring together a wide range of public health campaigners including medical professionals, NGOs and charities whose mission is to reduce the damage caused to health by alcohol misuse.

The Alliance is guided by World Health Organisation recommendations that “the alcohol industry has no role in the formulation of alcohol policies, which must be protected from distortion by commercial or vested interests”.

Professor Frank Murray, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and a liver specialist, who chairs the Alliance, commended the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar and the Government for the introduction of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.

“This legislation is an important first step to deal with the catastrophic consequences of Ireland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol. We believe the evidence-based measures contained in the Bill will turn down the tap of cheap alcohol for problem drinkers and young drinkers. In particular, we welcome the introduction of minimum unit pricing of alcohol, enforcement measures around the sale of alcohol to young people and the regulation of alcohol advertising. We commend the Government in taking on the vested interests of the alcohol industry and putting the best interests of the citizens first. We are calling on others to join us and register their support for this legislation.”

Suzanne Costello, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland: “The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill marks the first time an Irish Government will legislate to tackle alcohol harm and therefore offers us a unique opportunity to finally begin to address one of the most significant public health issues in Ireland today.

“The Alcohol Health Alliance brings together a number of strong advocates with medical and public health expertise who are campaigning to bring about a meaningful change in our harmful relationship with alcohol. These advocates support the evidence-based measures that target alcohol pricing, availability and marketing, which have been shown to have the greatest impact in reducing alcohol harm and can have the most positive impact on our harmful drinking environment and culture.

It is particularly important that those with expertise in this area are heard on this issue given the ongoing efforts of the alcohol industry to lobby against the public health measures, which are so urgently needed to reduce the huge toll that its products take on our society, such as those limiting children and young people’s exposure to alcohol marketing, including advertising and sponsorship.”

Notes for Editors

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland represents over 10,000 Members and Fellows who work as hospitals consultants, as well as doctors who are training in Irish hospitals.

Members of the RCPI Policy Group on Alcohol are:

  • Prof Frank Murray, Beaumont Hospital Dublin & RCPI
  • Prof Joe Barry, Faculty of Public Health Medicine, RCPI,
  • Dr Turlough Bolger, Faculty of Paediatrics, RCPI,
  • Dr Thomas Breslin, Irish Association of Emergency Medicine,
  • Dr William Flannery, The College of Psychiatry of Ireland,
  • Dr Blanaid Hayes, Faculty of Occupational Medicine, RCPI,
  • Dr Marie Laffoy, National Cancer Control Programme,
  • Prof Aiden McCormick, Irish Society of Gastroenterology,
  • Prof Deirdre Murphy, Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, RCPI,
  • Dr Brian Norton, Irish College of General Practitioners,
  • Dr Kieran O’Shea, Institute of Orthopaedic Surgery,
  • Dr Eimear Smith, Irish Association for Rehabilitation Medicine,
  • Dr Steven Stewart, Centre for Liver Disease, Mater Misericordiae Hospital,
  • Prof William Tormey, Faculty of Pathology, RCPI,
  • Prof Michael Walsh, Irish Cardiac Society

Alcohol Action Ireland is the national charity for alcohol related issues. An independent voice for advocacy and policy change, Alcohol Action Ireland campaigns to reduce levels of alcohol-related harm in Ireland.

For more information, please contact

  • Kate Healy, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, 01-8639698/ 085 8722109
  • Yvonne McCahill, Royal College of Ireland, 01-8639627/086-7723056
  • Conor Cullen, Alcohol Action Ireland, 01-8780610 or 087-9950186

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