Welcoming Public Health (Alcohol) Bill

 

Sir, – Too often, alcohol is a blight on children’s lives and ruins their childhoods. The passage of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill through the Dáil marks an important milestone for Ireland as it sends a clear message that we want to minimise the devastating and lasting damage caused to children and young people due to alcohol. It was down to the vision and commitment of our political leaders, led by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Health Simon Harris, and current and former Oireachtas members (such as Louise O’Reilly, Stephen Donnelly, Alex White, Frances Black, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, and Róisín Shortall) that made this happen. They came together to protect future generations of children and young people from the detrimental impact of alcohol on children’s lives. Significant numbers of young people in Ireland begin drinking at an early age, putting further strain on our health system and family services which are already besieged of alcohol-related harm. This has to end. The measures in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill brings us closer to ending this public health crisis.

It is crucial that this legislation is enacted and implemented as soon as possible. With the passing of this legislation and looking to the future, it is now an opportune time to begin a dialogue on the role of alcohol sponsorship and sports, together with online advertising, which is persuasive and everywhere. We know that they impact children and young people and both need to be tackled head-on. – Yours, etc,

TANYA WARD,

Chief Executive,

Children’s Rights Alliance,

Red Cow Lane,

Smithfield,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – In the last 1,000 days we have borne witness to the intensive, assiduous and sometimes unscrupulous lobbying by vested interests attempting to prevent the progress of the alcohol Bill through the Houses of the Oireachtas. In finally passing this legislation, all the TDs from across the House who have supported this Bill are to be greatly commended.

We now urge the Government to facilitate a speedy enactment of the legislation. The public support and expect decisive action and our members stand ready to provide advice and assistance in its implementation. – Yours, etc ,

MARTIN FITZPATRICK,

Chairman,

Environmental Health

Association of Ireland,

Bray, Co Wicklow.