There is yet another bill worming its way through our legislative process.
This one is the “The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill” which proposes all the crap that us smokers know so well – warning labels, advertising bans, doors of shame in shops and of course minimum pricing.
They have started a new campaign here called “Drink is a Drug” which is a little confusing? Is water included in that catchy sound-bight? They even have a web site which is nice of them [though I’m not sure what Blind Eye has to do with it?]. I spent a happy two minutes browsing it so you needn’t bother. It’s full of the usual shit about how all our kids are getting smashed every night and how alcohol is costing us millions [which it probably will once they start with massive tax hikes?].
It does include a form for us to send to all our “elected representatives”. Rather handily it fills in the message for us to send, thereby saving us the trouble –
I am writing to you to express my deep concern regarding the continuing level of alcohol harm in our communities, which now needs urgent action. For over 800 days, since it was first introduced, the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill has languished in the Oireachtas and continually faced extraordinary delay. I understand it is the come before Dáil Éireann Select Committee on Health in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, alcohol harm in Ireland continues to claim three lives every day. It is responsible for a significant burden of ill-health, placing a constant strain on our health services, where hundreds of beds every day are occupied by people with wholly attributable alcohol-related conditions, at an estimated public cost of €1.5 billion annually. Assessing a wider set of cost implications to include current public expenditure in Justice, Children, Social Protection the estimated cost is €2.35bn. Alcohol plays a major role in serious issues such as drink-driving, assaults, suicide, self-harm, domestic violence, and child welfare and protection.
In short, the cost of excessive alcohol consumption is a major drain on current public expenditure: for €100m of public monies spent, €4.6m will be deployed to mitigate the harmful outcomes of alcohol consumption.
It is also important you remember that the harm that is caused by our excessive drinking extends far beyond the individual who is drinking, impacting on their families, and others, our businesses, communities, hospitals and schools.
In 2017 alone, 283,866 work days were lost to alcohol related absenteeism, while inexcusably 60,000 children will have commenced their drinking ‘careers’.
I strongly believe the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill can, for the first time ever, establish a set of measures, which when taken together, will provide a reasonable and pragmatic means to achieving a reduction in alcohol consumption in Ireland so reducing alcohol harms and the related socio-economic impact.
As my representative, I urge you to please support the implementation of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, in full, as it is only through our legislators introducing evidence-based policies that we can reduce the burden of alcohol harm on our society, improving health, safety and wellbeing for all.
Now it seems a bit pointless sending their own propaganda back to them, so I changed it a little bit and even managed to shorten it.
I am writing to you to express my deep concern regarding the continuing level of interference by the state in an individual’s lifestyle choices.
I agree that there is a certain “level of harm” caused by alcohol but this is down to a small minority of drinkers. The vast majority drink sensibly and derive great benefit from it. The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will affect everyone regardless of their alcohol consumption. It is punishing the many for the misdeeds of the few. Target the minority if you must but not the rest of the adult population who are quite mature enough to make their own decisions.
Regarding underage drinking, there are sufficient laws already in place regarding the sale of alcohol to under 18s. Enforce those laws instead of introducing yet more.
The new proposals are obviously following the “Tobacco Template”. Smoking has been steadily decreasing over the decades yet not one of the anti-tobacco measures has shown any significant effect on the rate of decline whatsoever. This includes warning labels on packs, bans on display and advertising and the “doors of shame”, all of which are adapted into the new Alcohol Bill. I can guarantee that the Alcohol Bill will follow the same path.
Any imagined benefits of this bill will be far outweighed by the damage it will cause to the small retailer who will once again have to foot the bill for complying with the law and for any loss of trade. It will also be a boon to the illicit trade who supply their unregulated wares to anyone regardless of age.
This is a bad and unnecessary bill.
It has duly been sent to all my local and European representatives, who I might add don’t represent me one jot.
Fuck the lot of ’em.