The Public Health Alcohol bill which we wrote about here was back in the Dail this week. It’s now 1,000 days since the bill was first proposed. In that time over 3,000 people have died from alcohol related harm.
Alcohol kills more people than suicide
As we’ve written before alcohol harm kills more people than illegal drugs and suicide.
So you would think the bill which is aimed at reducing these deaths would be treated urgently. But no, two other bills, the Good Friday Pub bill and Craft brewery opening hours bills have been introduced after the Public Health Alcohol bill and are now law.
The Public Health Alcohol bill came back into the Dail
It was hoped the bill would be approved by the Dail on Wednesday. The debate started in the evening and ran for over 4 hours. A small number of deputies kept talking with total misinformation.
Michael Healy Rae- Yes- he of the publican family, that thinks overgrown hedges kills more people, thought the bill was aimed at young people only.
In fairness, Stephen Donnelly, the Fianna Fail spokesman on health withdrew his amendment as he did not want to delay the bill. He also admitted to now being aware of the links between alcohol and cancer.
Louise O Reilly also proposed a useful amendment to start detailed tracking of alcohol related harm.
The Bill does not pass
With all the hot air, though the debate ran out of time. As one commentator said
“Listening to the filibustering and misinformation in the Dail by a handful of Deputies.
We have been apple picking in orchards in childhood and down the Wild Atlantic Way”
The media role
The media did not cover themselves in glory either. Disgracefully, Virgin Media asked Michael Overgrown Hedges Healy Rae to present a current affairs programme dealing with the Public Health Alcohol bill. Healy Rae missed a Dail vote to do this. There was no mention of his conflict of interest. However Senator Frances Black did a great job defending the bill. You can see a clip here.
Gerry O Sullivan, questioned Healy Rae ‘s appearance as a current affairs presenter on Kerry Radio and got a lot of abuse for his troubles. Link here.
On Twitter, the political editor of the Irish Times, Pat Leahy said he could only watch the debate with a half bottle of claret. (Smart Pat, you’re not binge drinking ). This generated multiple replies mainly along the lines of
“It would drive you to drink, all right,”
“You’re going to die, we’re all going to die.”
Very few of the replies were active supporters of the Public Health Alcohol bill.
So if you’re trying to manage your drinking, our alcogenic or drinking environment does not help. All the messages are drinking is fun, sexy, entertaining and that life without drink is boring and uninteresting.
It’s changing though
There are signs of change though. 92% of the public do support the bill.
Minister Simon Harris has committed to bringing the bill back into the Dail next Wednesday. Hopefully the Government will stand up to alcohol industry pressure.
So just keep reminding yourself, your thinking is more informed than many of our TD’s and media. You know alcohol is a problem.
And if you feel your self-belief or confidence weakening try reading some of our writer’s stories on our blog. For example
MSBG writes about “how living in Ireland made her drink more to be accepted by Irish Friends”
Irvine says “ he can’t live in Ireland as he drinks too much.”
Siolta writes ” on her fears of being seen as no craic ” if she does n’t drink
Beanyneamy writes ” on drinking away the Irish stereotype
Or just watch the very funny Irish intervention.Over 4 million people have enjoyed it so far.