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The publication of draft legislation to help reduce alcohol consumption and to tackle dangerous consumption has been welcomed by Cork East Fine Gael TD, David Stanton. The proposed Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 is part of a range of measures designed to limit the damage to the nation’s health, society and economy posed by dangerous drinking.

“This legislation is quite far-reaching and marks the first time that alcohol is being addressed as a public health issue. It aims to help cut alcohol consumption in Ireland to the OECD average by 2020 and addresses price, availability, information and marketing”, said David Stanton TD.

“It is an unfortunate fact that the drinking culture in Irish society leads to many Irish adults drinking far too much and often to dangerous levels. The human and financial cost of alcohol misuse here is huge leading to illness and subsequent higher health costs, public order offences, road traffic accidents and absence from work. Alcohol misuse often also plays a role in suicides and domestic and sexual violence.

“Many of the measures outlined in this draft legislation will help raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol as a drug and hopefully will subsequently reduce consumption in particular the introduction of minimum unit pricing which effectively bans low-cost selling of alcohol. I also welcome the introduction of labelling on alcohol products to include health warnings and advice (including for pregnancy), as well as listing the pure alcohol content and calorie count.

“Another important new measure is the physical separation of alcohol from other products in supermarkets, which will be enforced by Environmental Health Officers. New restrictions on the advertising and marketing of alcohol mean that it will be illegal to market or advertise alcohol in a manner that is appealing to children and which will include a broadcast watershed on TV and radio, with further restrictions due on cinema, outdoor advertising and sponsorship of sporting events.