The feature of a stricter Irish alcohol policy seems uncertain after its champion minister of state for primary care Róisín Shortall has resigned, following a clash with the Minister for Health James Reilly. In her resignation statement she implied that decisions on health infrastructure and staffing are driven by other concerns then public health.
Irish campaigners against alcohol abuse are concerned about the Government’s plan to tackle the issue. Among the measures proposed by Shortall were minimum pricing, an end to alcohol sponsorship of sports and other cultural events by 2016, and tough regulations on advertising.
Fergus McCabe of the Steering Group on a National Substance Misuse Strategy, said he was “very concerned and disappointed” over Shortall’s resignation and said it appeared the alcohol issue was not being taken seriously by Government.
Fiona Ryan, of Alcohol Action Ireland, told The Irish Times: “We finally had a Minister who really understood the need for prevention, who said to vested interests: ‘You’ve had your day and now we’re going to do what’s good for public health’. “I am concerned now. I am concerned this will be shelved, there will be more delays.”
EUCAM will keep reporting on developments concerning the Irish alcohol strategy.
Source: Irish Times 09/28/12