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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 19 November, 2019

Alcohol Bill, first published in 2015, finally passes through Oireachtas

The legislation provides for changes such as minimum pricing and restrictions on advertising.

File photo of a woman holding a bottle of wine
File photo of a woman holding a bottle of wine
Image: Shutterstock/Aleksandar Karanov

THE PUBLIC HEALTH (Alcohol) Bill is to go to President Michael D Higgins to be signed into law.

The much-debated legislation passed through the Seanad this evening, having been passed in the Dáil last week.

The wide-ranging piece of legislation was first published in 2015, and provides for changes such as minimum pricing on alcoholrestrictions on advertising and stark warning labels on alcohol products.

In a statement released this evening, Health Minister Simon Harris noted that the legislation “has been debated for over 1,000 days” and “has been the subject of the most intense lobbying by the alcohol industry”.

“We know that we have a relationship with alcohol in this country that is not good, damages our health, harms our communities and harms many families. 

“The measures in this Bill will make a real difference to changing the culture of drinking in Ireland over a period of time,” Harris said. 

3,000 deaths 

Responding to the news, Suzanne Costello, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland, said today’s passage has been “slow in the making”. 

“The Bill will not be a panacea to all our entrenched societal difficulties with alcohol.

However, it is a very significant start and over time, perhaps a generation – just as we did with tobacco – with sustained leadership, we can begin the forge a new relationship with alcohol, one that appreciates the potency and risk to both our mental and physical wellbeing.

Costello noted that more than 3,000 people died from alcohol-related illness and incidents in the period that this legislation was before the Oireachtas.

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Órla Ryan

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