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"Ireland has a serious problem - we drink too much alcohol"

This comes as the government makes €1 million available to raise awareness about alcohol abuse.

Image: Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland

A NEW €1 MILLION fund is being made available to tackle alcohol abuse.

This has been announced today at The Alcohol Forum’s third annual conference by the Minister for Heath Leo Varadkar.

Speaking about the issue, Varadkar, said, “Ireland has a serious problem – we drink too much alcohol.”

When we drink, we tend to binge drink. More than half of adult drinkers in the population are classified as harmful drinkers.

He went on to state that the aim of the government is reduce alcohol consumption down to the OECD average which is currently 9.1 litres per person a year.

Speaking at the conference, CEO of Alcohol Forum, Kieran Doherty, said, “over consumption of alcohol affects the economy, local communities and families across the country and can be directly attributed to around 88 deaths a month.”

Programme of change

The new money being made available today is coming from the Dormant Accounts Action Plan and will support individual Drug and Alcohol Task Forces around the country.

Each of these work at a local and regional level to assist with the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy. Each individual taskforce will receive €41,600 as part of the new funding.

The main action being taken to tackle excessive alcohol consumption comes in the form of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill which is described by the Health Minister as, “among the most far-reaching in Europe”.

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What’s in the new Bill?

This new Bill will introduce: minimum unit pricing on alcohol; more regulation on marketing and advertising; health labelling of alcohol products and; will give further enforcement powers to Environmental Health Officers.

The Bill had contained strong action against alcohol companies sponsoring sporting events. However, there were later reports that the government was planning on softening these measures.

The legislation was signed off on in February by the Cabinet but has yet to go to the floor of the Dáil.

Read: Those supermarket booze deals could be in danger…

Also: ‘Alco-locks’ could be on the way for those that continue to drink-drive

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