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Home > Dail Eireann debates. Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 [Seanad]: Second Stage (Resumed).

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debates. Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 [Seanad]: Second Stage (Resumed). (08 Feb 2018)

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Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."


Deputy Noel Rock: I have been thinking about this Bill for quite some time. Its slow passage to this point has not gone unnoticed. It has been so well documented that I have had ample time to consider the matter. The truth is that I remain unconvinced. I agree that we must tackle the issue of alcoholism and that we must tackle excess drinking. Who in this Chamber, were it fully attended, would not agree with those sentiments? However, I am unconvinced by the measures set out in this legislation. I am unconvinced by the provisions in the Bill in respect of advertising, labelling and, most of all, minimum unit pricing. I support the aims of the Bill, but I disagree with the detail. In short, I want to see action against alcoholism, but I feel these measures squeeze the people on the lowest incomes and the smallest producers.


I do not think there is anyone in this House who underestimates the turmoil, the toll and the cost that alcoholism visits individuals, their loved ones and on society at large. There is no one in this House who does not believe that we need to battle the causes and effects of alcoholism. However, we appear to differ on the interpretation of the data at our disposal and on the effectiveness of the measures that are proposed in this Bill. On the data, we can see that alcohol consumption in Ireland has plummeted since 2001.


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