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Alcohol Action Ireland. (2021) The alcohol file. Dublin: Alcohol Action Ireland.

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The opening episode of ‘The Alcohol File’ – What is alcohol doing for our health? explores a number of issues relating to what damage alcohol can do to our physical and mental health. In wide ranging panel discussion with Prof. Frank Murray (former President of the RCPI and chair of Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland), Dr John Ryan (Consultant Hepatologist, Beaumont) and Dr Bobby Smyth (Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist) the show explores an ‘A to Z’ of alcohol harm to understand the specific issues and the impact on our health services, and the wider society. Drawing on his experiences on the front line at Beaumont Hospital, Dr John Ryan, Consultant Hepatologist, highlights the acute impact of treating people with alcohol use disorders and alcohol related liver disease: “Over the past 40 years the mortality rate, deaths from advanced liver disease – alcohol-related liver disease predominantly – has increased 400%” 

In the 2nd episode of ‘The Alcohol File’ – What is alcohol doing to our children? – we explore a number of issues relating to alcohol and children in Ireland. In wide ranging panel discussion with Prof. Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, Health Promotion Research Centre, NUI Galway and Principal Investigator for the WHO’s Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study; Dr Norah Campbell, Associate Professor in Marketing at Trinity Business School, and Dr Sheila Gilheany, CEO, Alcohol Action Ireland explore a number of issues relating to children and alcohol:

  • the experience children have with alcohol through their teenage years;
  • consider how are our children recruited into alcohol use so young;
  • what are the principal drivers behind this behaviour, and
  • what is the impact of alcohol marketing in recruiting children to an alcohol lifestyle?

Episode Three: The bad economics of alcohol. In this episode, Eunan McKinney discusses with Aveek Bhattacharya, Chief Economist at the Social Market Foundation (UK), and Professor Joe Barry, Adjunct Professor of Public Health Medicine at TCD, a number of issues relating to the economic impacts of our harmful alcohol use; what is the economic cost to a society that leaves such excessive use of alcohol unchecked; and what is the ‘untold’ story of the external harms from Others’ drinking.

Episode Four: The importance of global alcohol policy in tackling alcohol use. In this episode, Eunan McKinney discusses with Carina Ferreira-Borges, Programme Manager, Alcohol and Illicit Drugs & Prison Health, WHO European Office for Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases; Colin Angus, Senior Research Fellow, Sheffield Alcohol Research Group, University of Sheffield, and Prof. Karine Gallopel-Morvan, School of Public Health (Rennes, France); and Honorary Professor at the University of Stirling (Scotland), a number of issues relating to the development of progressive alcohol policy, the rational of the WHO’s policy “best buys’ for national implementation and the challenges that lie ahead for the next phase of global and regional strategies to reduce harmful use of alcohol.


Episode Five: Silent Voices – ending the silence on the impact of parental problem alcohol use. In this episode, Eunan McKinney discusses with Carol Fawsitt, Marion Rackard and Barbara Whelan, the founders of ‘Silent Voices’ – an initiative by Alcohol Action Ireland – that aims to break a peculiarly Irish taboo on discussing the impact of harmful drinking on children. It explores their motivation to sustain this initiative, reflects on what has been achieved so far and examines what needs to be done by a variety of stakeholders to help improve the lives of 200,000 Irish children, and the adult children of today, who everyday live with the impact and consequences of this experience.


Episode Six: Progressive alcohol policy - gaining ground but how to win the war? In this episode, Eunan McKinney discusses with Dr Matthew Lesch (University of York), Lauri Beekman (NORDan) and Dr Peter Rice (SHAAP), what were the major learnings from the advocacy experience in Ireland to advance progressive public health alcohol policy, and what interdependent strategies - coalition building; health messaging and political tactics - could be adopted, more widely, to ensure a transition from policy adoption to effective implementation.

Episode seven: Why does Ireland continue to have a high level of alcohol use? In this episode, Eunan McKinney discusses with Dr Deirdre Mongan and Anne Doyle, Research Officers within the HRB National Drugs & Alcohol Strategies team, the detail of the HRB's recently published Overview Series: Alcohol consumption, alcohol related harm and alcohol policy in Ireland.

Episode eight: Alcohol treatment services facing real challenges post Covid experience In this episode, Eunan McKinney discusses with Sara Cassidy, Aiseiri, Mick Devine, Tabor Group and Jennifer Hough, Alcohol Action's policy officer, the themes and recommendations within a new report of the survey of residential alcohol treatment services conducted by Alcohol Action Ireland in 2020 and published in June 2021.

Alcohol File’ to be released monthly, will share with the listener a comprehensive, independent analysis, both national and international, of the many complex issues related to alcohol use:

  • expert analysis and insight to the health and socio-economic risk from alcohol use;
  • the challenges with recalibrating our harmful relationship with alcohol;
  • the most effective measures and policy to shape a society that is free from alcohol harm; the commercial determinants sustaining poor public health outcomes and prolonged health inequalities, and
  • an exposé of transnational alcohol producers’ commercial and political tactics to impede and obstruct public health policy. 

The latest study published in the BMJ highlights that half of Irish drinkers have a hazardous or harmful pattern of drinking (67% are unaware of this pattern); 38 out 100 engaged in monthly ‘binge’ drinking, and 10 out 100 met the criteria for alcohol dependence. Drinking in denial: a cross-sectional analysis of national survey data in Ireland to measure drinkers’ awareness of their alcohol use.

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