Press Release

Launch of Institute of Public Health

Mr Brian Cowen T.D. Minister for Health and Children today (22 November 1999) co-launched the all Ireland government sponsored Institute of Public Health with Mr George Howarth, M.P. Minister for Health and Social Services in the North of Ireland.

Both Ministers drew attention to the common problems in public health and welcomed the establishment of the Institute. Minister Cowen stated in his address that- “This Institute of Public Health is an all Ireland, non governmental body funded by both governments. It will be a shared resource to help us develop a better understanding of the health and social circumstances of the people of this island, North and South. It will, through this knowledge, influence public policy development in the interest of public health and social equality.”

He added that “It is our profound hope that this partnership can be further enhanced and deepened to our mutual benefit in the context of the implementation of the North/South provisions of the Good Friday Agreement.”

He also drew attention to the Government’s strategy to reduce cardiovascular diseases “The main health problems facing our society today are cardiovascular diseases and cancers. In fact we have approximately twice the levels of cardiovascular diseases compared to the European Union. average We have recently initiated a comprehensive multi sectoral programme addressing this problem.”

Minister Cowen, who recently received a report from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children on tobacco and health, also focused specifically on tobacco identifying it as the leading cause of preventable deaths.

“As part of our focus on cardiovascular diseases and cancers we are about to launch a new initiative on tobacco control entitled- Towards a Tobacco Free Society. Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of premature deaths not only on this island but through out the developed world. It causes cardiovascular diseases and cancers, especially lung cancers. It also causes low birth weight in babies, and cot deaths. …It is essential that we all focus our efforts on this key issue. …. The evidence base is conclusive and it only remains for us to act.”