Barnardos supports call for urgent passage of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill

24 Oct 2017 in Press Releases, Advocacy, Featured

As a member of Alcohol Health Alliance, 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.

‘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. Difficulties resulting from growing up in a family affected by harmful alcohol use can be complex and long-lasting, ranging from behavioural problems and emotional issues to illness caused by neglect. Children living with parents with an alcohol addiction often experience irregular and inconsistent parenting which can leave children feeling confused and unsure of the world around them – often leading to feelings of anxiety and insecurity. Older children can feel burdened by having to care for younger siblings as their parent is too unwell to conduct domestic and childcare duties effectively.

“Children’s school life and performance can also be negatively affected by alcohol misuse - children of parents with chronic alcohol problems are more likely to struggle with learning difficulties, reading problems, poor concentration and generally low performance. Excessive exposure to alcohol at home and in public through alcohol marketing and promotion also increases the likelihood that children will consume alcohol at an early age themselves.”

“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 will protect children from the harmful effects of excessive alcohol such as: restrictions on advertising and promotions, separation of alcohol products in shops and supermarkets and compulsory health-labelling on alcohol containers. We are keen to see the bill passed in full and as rapidly as possible. We owe it to our children and in the interests of improving people’s health to have tighter rules around the supply and promotion of alcohol.”