Press Release

Minister Wallace reinforces the public health message on alcohol

Ms Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children with special responsibility for Health Promotion and Food Safety, today (3rd September 2008) welcomed the initiative taken by the Gardaí in using the new powers provided in the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008, which was passed by the Oireachtas in July 2008.

While the focus of the seizures of alcohol has been around the public order aspects of alcohol misuse, the Minister is also anxious to reinforce the public health message. While concern is expressed as to how the seized alcohol is to be disposed of, we are also concerned as to the health consequences for the people who were going to consume it before it was seized, especially underage young people.

We have every reason to be concerned about our alcohol consumption as a population. Each year the average drinker consumes the equivalent of 600 pints of beer, or 150 bottles of wine or 50 bottles of spirits. It is not someone else’s drinking that is the problem – it is a problem for us all. Research has shown that: •Alcohol related hospital admissions increased by 88% (from 9,254 to 17,378) between 1995 and 2004. •Hospital admissions for alcohol related liver diseases increased by 147% in the same period. •Death from alcohol-related diseases has increased from 3.8 per 100,000 adult population in 1995 to 7.1 in 2004.

“Government will continue to identify and seek implementation of the measures necessary to tackle alcohol misuse in society. This will be done through a combination of legislative provisions and through non-legislative codes of practice. We must tackle both the amount of alcohol consumed along with the way in which it is consumed. As a nation we are drinking too much! Communities need to work with An Garda Síochána to deal with this very important issue. It is great to see the new powers passed into law in July having such an important impact and being used so efficiently by An Garda Síochána” The Minister said.