Government’s troubled alcohol strategy

Oh, the joys of the Freedom of Information Act. It only took six months to get my response from the Department of Health. It’s supposed to take 20 days apparently. And most of the juicier stuff was refused, thanks to a blanket ban on anything that goes – or might go – to the Government.

But there were a few nuggets in what I got. The first gave a flavour of the extent to which certain government departments lobbied a Government expert group on alcohol against plans to end sponsorship of sports and other large public events by the drinks industry. See http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/departments-lobbied-against-plans-to-end-sport-sponsorship-by-drink-firms-210207.html

Sponsorship is the biggest stickler in the Government’s forthcoming ‘action plan’ on alcohol. That plan was supposed to be published before the end of the summer, then by September. Now, it’s before the end of the year. That will come a full three years after the Government committee first sat to address this issue. Into the mix, came the recent, and sudden, resignation of Roisin Shortall, the minister of state who personally – and passionately – drove the alcohol strategy.

With Roisin Shortall’s exit, where now for action plan?

The next nugget in the FoI material contained the views of different Government departments towards an alcohol awareness association funded by the drinks’ industry. One dept said it and a body representing drinks’ suppliers and manufacturers tried to ‘undermine’ the final report of the committee. Another dept heaped praise on the awareness group.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/drinks-groups-undermine-report-210192.html

The third story in today’s Irish Examiner is the response from the two drinks’ industry groups.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/we-had-no-choice-but-to-submit-a-minority-report-210191.html

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About Cormac O'Keeffe

I am writing my first novel. It's a crime novel, a thriller set in Dublin's gangland, along the evocative Grand Canal. This blog is about my journey. And other things, like fiction reviews and non-fiction reviews, many of them published in the Irish Examiner, a daily national newspaper in Ireland. I work as crime and drugs reporter there, and have been since around 2001. Both my personal life and my professional life have fed into my novel, or, rather, have poured into it. My novel was granted a literature bursary by the Irish Arts Council in September 2014 and my journalistic work has won multiple awards from the Law Society of Ireland over many years, most recently in 2015.
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