Press Release

National Alcohol Strategy Task Force Announced By Minister For Health

Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Health and Children today announced the setting up of a National Alcohol Strategy Task Force. He made the announcement as part of his opening address to a major Alcohol Policy Conference taking place at Dublin Castle today (Tuesday 20th November).

“It has somehow become absorbed into our culture that alcohol is necessary to the occasion,” explained the Minister. “And maybe that sense of necessity is created by the all-pervasive presence of alcohol, on billboards, on television, at major social and sporting events.”

He went on to explain that creating policies that dealt with a potential threat to our nation´s health which is so ingrained in so much of what we do would require a new body with a new approach.

“That´s why I´ve decided to set up a National Alcohol Strategy Task Force – to recommend measures to Government to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm in Ireland,” Minister Martin said. “I have asked that the measures be based on sound research evidence and best practice. I expect the first set of measures within three months of its establishment.”

The Alcohol Policy Conference was also addressed by speakers from across Europe, in particular northern Europe where similar drinking patterns to those in Ireland exist. The issues of alcohol´s role in violence, accidents and suicides as well as the policy initiatives which have been proven to be effective were discussed.

The results of the European Comparative Alcohol Study were released as were the conclusions of research commissioned by the Health Promotion Unitentitled “The Impact of Alcohol Advertising on Teenagers in Ireland.”

The speakers included Robin Room – Professor and Director of the Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs at Stockholm University, Chief Superintendent Catherine Clancy, Dr. Gerhard Gmel- Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol & Other Drug Problems, Dr. Ann Hope – National Alcohol Policy Advisor, Department of Health & Children and Mr. Hakan Leifman, Centre for Social Research on Alcohol & Drugs, Sweden.