Child protection and alcohol
Sir, – Your Editorial (December 13th) highlights the implications of the new landmark mandatory reporting system of child protection concerns and the downstream effects of this new legislation. As stated, child welfare is of the utmost importance.
In addition to managing the child welfare concerns when they occur, it is also of utmost importance to reduce the occurrence of childcare safety concerns. We should reflect carefully and act on the concerns expressed by Prof Geoffrey Shannon, the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection.
In his recent report and comments, Prof Shannon highlighted the role of alcohol in cases referred to An Garda Síochána for child protection. His report demonstrates how corrosive alcohol is. Prof Shannon further commented that the biggest challenge facing society is the adverse consequences for the welfare of many children posed by alcohol. The failure by society to address alcohol as a fundamental problem, places insurmountable burdens on the child protection system.
If we are serious about childcare concerns in Ireland and wish to reduce child welfare concerns, I believe we must act as a caring society and reduce the wholly negative impact of alcohol on child welfare. The most effective methods to reduce alcohol damage are through price, availability and marketing/promotion of alcohol.
These measures are incorporated in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, which deserves our full support, and we exhort its urgent enactment. – Yours, etc,
Prof FRANK MURRAY,
Chair, Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland,
Royal College of Physicians of Ireland,