Press Release

Your Health is Your Wealth: a Policy Framework for a Healthier Ireland 2012 – 2020

A major new initiative, aimed at improving our general standard of health, is being launched today, Monday 13th of June by four government ministers with a consultation day with public health professionals, relevant departments and agencies, academics, community and voluntary organisations and others taking place in the Royal College of Physicians, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. There will be a live webcast of the morning session and this can be accessed via the link –

Dr James Reilly, Minister for Health, will be joined by Frances Fitzgerald, the Minister for Children, and Ministers of State; Róisín Shortall and Kathleen Lynch at this important event in Dublin city centre which will lead to the development of a new public health policy.

The new policy, once published, will set out the Government’s long-term vision for the health and well-being of the population. The aim is to help people live healthier and more fulfilling lives and to create social conditions that ensure good health, on equal terms for the entire population.

“The need for a new, enhanced public health policy is clear” according to Minister Reilly. “It is a sobering thought that that approximately two thirds of chronic disease could be prevented if we just changed our lifestyle and avoided unnecessary risk factors. Consider the enormous suffering that could be avoided if we were to remove those factors. In other words, it’s up to us as individuals to take responsibility for our life choices and it’s also up to us as a society to make our environment safer and the right choice easier to make.”

Minister Frances Fitzgerald said she was delighted to be attending in her capacity as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, a newly created Government Department, whose responsibilities will span a range of issues including child welfare and protection, youth justice, the National Children’s Strategy, family supports and of course early childhood care and education. Singling out the growing problem of childhood obesity as a particular area of interest for her personally, the Minister said “Obesity in children is of major concern in that it causes a wide range of serious health and social consequences and may impact on mental health. Moreover, childhood obesity is linked to underachievement in school and to lower self-esteem”.

On the topic of the harm caused by alcohol misuse in Ireland, Minister of State with Responsibility for Primary Care Róisín Shortall said “A sustained multi-sectoral approach to the alcohol epidemic, backed by a strong political and societal consensus, is required to reduce alcohol consumption levels” . She also emphasized the central role that primary care services will play in prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.

Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health, Disability and Older People Kathleen Lynch acknowledged the link between poverty and ill health and said that is an area that needs to be addressed. She also highlighted the issue of including mental health as part of an overall public health policy. We, as a State” said the Minister should always seek to ensure that the systems, services and supports we put in place facilitate solutions across the entire area of the nation’s health.”

The event will allow an audience of over 200 key figures across society, involved in healthcare and many other areas, to hear submissions from national and international experts on the subject of public health.

The final policy will realise the provisions in the Programme for Government regarding a healthier population that will be protected from health threats, living in a healthier and more sustainable environment, with increased social and economic productivity and greater social inclusion.

To succeed in developing and implementing a first-class public health policy, in which everyone is encouraged to play a part in protecting and improving the nation’s health, a consultation process has been mapped out to ensure wide engagement.

Keynote speakers are Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe; Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Director University College London Institute for Society and Health; Professor Sheila Greene, Director, Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin; Dr Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer, DHSSPS, Northern Ireland; and Mr Tom O’Mahony, Secretary General, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

There will be a media briefing and photocall at 11a.m. in the RCPI to which you are invited to send a representative. There will be a facilitated roundtable discussion in the afternoon, which will give participants the opportunity to contribute to the development of the policy and at 3.45 p.m. you are invited to hear feedback from the groups, discussion and commentary from the panel of speakers in advance of the conference closing at 5 p.m.


9.15a.m. Morning’s proceedings streamed live at:
11a.m. Photocall and media briefing
3.45p.m. Feedback from groups discussion and commentary from panel
5p.m. Conference close
Venue Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, 6 Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Further details are available at here


Keynote Speakers Documents

Presentation by Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe

Speech by Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe

Presentation by Professor Michael Marmot

Presentation by Dr Michael McBride

Speech by Tom O’Mahony, Secretary General Department of Transport Tourism and Sport

Presentation by Sheila Greene, Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin