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[Alcohol Action Ireland] An urgent opportunity to reduce alcohol harm in Ireland. (26 May 2016)

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A letter to the editor from the Alcohol Health Alliance on the new Government and the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill:

Dear Editor,
We welcome the Government commitment to enacting the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill in the Programme for Partnership Government and fully support its prompt progression through the Oireachtas. This long-awaited legislation, which has cross party support in the Oireachtas, has already concluded second stage in the Seanad and can quickly be enacted and become law within the first 100 days of this Government, if the political will is there to finally tackle our harmful relationship with alcohol in Ireland.

Harmful alcohol consumption in Ireland costs the state €2.35 billion annually in providing healthcare, policing and enforcement, and other services. We know that alcohol harm not only affects the individual drinker, but also affects others around them, including their children and other family members, friends, co-workers and the wider community.

The lack of a progressive alcohol policy in Ireland to date has resulted in children’s lives being blighted by alcohol misuse resulting from parental addiction and contributing to financial difficulties, family breakdown, neglect and abuse.

The measures within the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill are a very important and positive first step in our efforts to reduce alcohol harm and improve the health, safety and wellbeing of our people. Most importantly, this legislation will save lives and improve the quality and quantity of life for many of our citizens.

Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland – the first public health advocacy coalition formed on alcohol, is calling on the new partnership Government to tackle these urgent problems now by enacting the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill without further delay. This will lead to immediate improvements in the health and wellbeing of our people as well as a huge economic benefit in our society. We look forward to supporting our public representatives in this initiative.

Yours sincerely,
Prof Frank Murray. President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and Chair of Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland
Suzanne Costello, Alcohol Action Ireland
Paul Gordon, Irish Cancer Society
Mary Cunningham, National Youth Council of Ireland
Barry Dempsey, Irish Heart Foundation
Senator Frances Black, The Rise Foundation
Grainia Long, ISPCC
Tanya Ward, Children’s Rights Alliance
June Tinsley, Barnardos
Dr. Cate Hartigan, Head of Health Promotion, HSE
Prof. Joe Barry, Trinity College Dublin
Dr. Shari McDaid, Mental Health Reform
Rachel Wright, Samaritans
Colette Kelleher, Alzheimers Society of Ireland
Dr. Donal O’Shea, Consultant Endocrinologist
Dr. John Duddy, Irish Medical Organisation
Dr. Orla Crosbie, Consultant Hepatologist
Dr. PJ Byrne, Irish Dental Association
Kieran Doherty, Alcohol Forum
Jillian van Turnhout
Triona Ni Rainne, Galway Healthy Cities Alcohol Forum
Michelle Murphy, Social Justice Ireland
Dr. Hugh Gallagher, Addiction Services, HSE
Jacqueline Healy, National Women’s Council of Ireland
Siobhan Kelly, Irish College of Ophthalmologists
Etain Kett, Dental Health Foundation
Sadie Grace, Family Support Network
Prof. Ella Arensman, National Suicide Research Foundation
Michelle Murphy, Social Justice Ireland
Grainne Flemming, No Name Club
John Bennett, Finglas/Cabra Local Drug and Alcohol Taskforce
Dr. Eoin MacDonncha, Irish Student Health Association
Dr. Michael Byrne, React Alcohol
Prof. Donal O’Shea, Consultant Endocrinologist
Susan Quirke, A lust for life
Aoife Ni Shuilleabhain, Union of Students of Ireland
Kieran Ryan, Irish College of General Practitioners
Liz Yeates, Marie Keating Foundation
Philip McGarry, College of Psychiatrists, Northern Ireland
Claire Hayes, Aware
Siobhan Kelly, The Irish College of Ophthalmologists
Fintan Hourihan, Irish Dental Association
Peter Gaffey, Environmental Health Association of Ireland
Anthea Carry, Tallaght Drug and Alcohol Task Force
Dr. Steven Stewart, Gastroenterologist
Dr. Aidan McCormick, Gastroenterologist
Dr. Ray Barry, Dean Faculty Paediatrics, RCPI
Dr. Elizabeth Keane, Dean Faculty Public Health, RCPI
Rolande Anderson, Addiction Counsellor
Eibhlin Mulroe, ICORG
Dr. John Hillery, College of Psychiatrists
Dr. Joy Bell, Royal College of Psychiatrists in Northern Ireland
Hugh Greeves, Ballymun Local Drugs and Alcohol Taskforce
Dr. Mark Delargy, The National Rehabilitation Hospital
Clíona Saidlear, Rape Crisis Network Ireland
Donna Price, Irish Road Victims Association
Triona Ni Rainne, Galway Health Cities
Carol Moore, Lifewise
Eoin Stephens, Dual Diagnosis Ireland
Niamh Farrell, AMEN Support Services
Fiona Nally, Pavee Point
Mary O’Brien, One Step Clinic
Colin Fowler, Men’s Health Forum in Ireland
Steven Joyce, South Western Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force
Emma Campion, Registered Nurse
Sandra Mullen, Clondalkin drugs and alcohol taskforce
Bernie McDonnell, Community Awareness of Drugs
Dr. Mark O’Loughlin, Senior House Officer, Galway University Hospital

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