Published: 21 June 2016
Alcohol in Ireland: consumption, harm, cost and policy response
In 2009, the Government established a steering group to formulate an alcohol policy. The steering group published their recommendations in 2012 and, following on from this, the government approved an extensive package of evidence based measures in 2013 to deal with alcohol use. These were incorporated into the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, which was published in 2015. This was significant because, for the first time, alcohol is being treated as a public health issue. The Bill aims to reduce alcohol consumption in Ireland to 9.1 litres of pure alcohol per person per annum by 2020, and to reduce alcohol-related harm. The main provisions of the Bill include minimum unit pricing, health labelling of alcohol products, the regulation of advertising and sponsorship of alcohol products, structural separation of alcohol products in mixed trading outlets, and the regulation of the sale and supply of alcohol in certain circumstances. The steering group report also recommended that the implemented measures be monitored, and the Health Research Board was tasked with collecting information on the appropriate alcohol epidemiological indicators. The purpose of this Overview is to compile and analyse the available data on alcohol use and its consequences in Ireland, and to describe alcohol policy.