Alcohol Forum Ireland to hold Letterkenny briefing tomorrow

THE Sale of Alcohol Bill could pose ‘enormous’ risks to children’s rights in Ireland, a Letterkenny-based charity has warned.

A briefing by Alcohol Forum Ireland to be held in Letterkenny tomorrow (Friday) will stress to politicians in Donegal how the government’s ‘pursuit of a night time economy that increases access to alcohol will be retrogressive for the rights and well-being of children in Ireland’.

A report published by Alcohol Forum Ireland and the Irish Community Action on Alcohol Network which will be presented to Donegal politicians tomorrow in the Public Services Centre, Letterkenny.


The independent charity provides a range of supports and services to individuals, families and communities impacted by alcohol harm while working on wider policy and advocacy levels to change Ireland’s problematic relationship with alcohol.

Speaking ahead of the event, CEO of Alcohol Ireland, Paula Leonard said that the measures in the Bill to include the extension of trading hours, a lack of regulation in drink deliveries and the removal of limits on the number of on-licenses will have a negative impact on lives of children in Ireland.

Ms Leonard said the impact will be felt most by those living in homes where parental alcohol use is a significant issue.

“Our second expert report on the Government’s Sale of Alcohol Bill highlights that it is likely to pose significant risks to the rights of children in Ireland, particularly the most vulnerable children.

“When alcohol consumption becomes the core focus of developing our night time economy, as reflected in the proposed Sale of Alcohol Bill, the economic benefits can come at an enormous cost.”

Ms Leonard said she is “acutely concerned” that the government is “simply ploughing ahead” with its legislation, despite growing expert evidence that it needs significant amendment.

“Public health and children’s rights experts are in agreement that this legislation, in its current form, will have serious negative consequences, the impact of which will be felt for generations.


“The HSE were also clear in the submission to the Department of Health, that the health service is not set up to cope with the increased pressure the legislation will place on health and hospital services arising from an inevitable increase in assaults and injuries linked to longer opening hours and more venues selling alcohol. But it’s not just the experts who are concerned, when we did a REDC poll, 51 per cent agreed that extending the hours at which alcohol can be sold in pubs, late bars and night clubs will have a negative impact on public health, public safety and public order’.

“So the question to Minister McEntee and to Government is, whose interests are being served here?,” said Ms Leonard.

Tomorrow’s briefing is the fifth in a series of political briefings organised by the charity to demand that the provisions of the Bill are amended to better protect public health and the rights of children.

The event will also hear from input from local researchers who have been examining different aspects of the proposed legislation. Dr Grainne Ketelaar has undertaken research on the risks associated with the operation of under 18s events in adult night club venues. She has said that “every teenage disco runs a high risk of very serious life changing experiences happening for young people”.

Belinda Boyle is from west Donegal. She is a masters research student in the ATU. She has been studying the risk in unregulated drink delivery services both nationally and locally here in the county. She too has said has said she is “concerned that the new legislation is missing the opportunity to ensure better and much needed regulation of these services”.


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