Barnardos Calls for Full and Swift Passage of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill

07 Nov 2017 in Press Releases, Advocacy, Featured

Barnardos is calling for full and swift passage of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill as a vital step towards reducing children’s exposure to alcohol. The Bill is being considered in the Seanad on Wednesday the 8th and Thursday the 9th of November.

‘I worry when my mam goes out that she won’t come home’ – child aged 12.

Barnardos Head of Advocacy, June Tinsley said: “Every day we work alongside children affected by alcohol abuse and we see first-hand the damaging affect that it can have on a child. Children living with parents with an alcohol addiction often experience irregular and inconsistent parenting, leading to confusion, anxiety and insecurity. Children of parents with chronic alcohol problems are also more likely to struggle in school with reading problems, poor concentration and learning difficulties common place. Older children can often feel burdened by having to care for younger siblings as their parent is too unwell.

“Excessive exposure to alcohol at home and also in public through alcohol marketing and promotion increases the likelihood that children will consume alcohol at an early age themselves. As we approach the festive season, we will see endless drinks promotions in stores and supermarkets as shoppers are urged to stock up for festivities, highlighting the prominent role that alcohol has taken in what is otherwise a family and child-focussed time.

 “The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will finally see measures introduced to tackle Ireland’s societal, and often toxic and over-reliant, relationship with alcohol. These essential and much-needed measures such as restrictions on advertising and promotions, separation of alcohol products in shops and supermarkets and compulsory health-labelling on alcohol containers will all help protect children from the harmful effects of excessive alcohol use. We are keen to see the bill passed in full and as rapidly as possible. We owe it to our children to have tighter rules around the supply and promotion of alcohol.”