Taoiseach prepares to tackle problem of cheap alcohol
THE Government is preparing to tackle the widespread availability of cheap alcohol, with the Taoiseach admitting he had personally heard stories of young people hospitalised due to the problem.
Enda Kenny pointed out that Ireland is the third highest consumer of alcohol in the world and that we drink more per occasion than any country in Europe.
He confirmed that the report of the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group was almost complete and the Health Minister would shortly receive its proposals.
The Steering Group was established in 2009 to develop policy in relation to the supply, pricing, availability and marketing of alcohol.
"I think it's an area that the minister has got to consider, because I have so many reports from people all over the country of the extent and the scale of the purchase of very cheap alcohol and we have reports from hospitals in so many cases of unfortunate consequences," Mr Kenny said.
Mr Kenny was speaking in Castlebar at the launch of the first Alcohol and Drugs Awareness Week in Co Mayo.
He said that he had come across the problem of cheap alcohol and young people ending up in serious trouble in every part of the country.
Irish teenagers and young adults drink more in total, and drink more per occasion, than young people anywhere else in Europe.
Alcohol is also responsible for about 100 deaths every month and for approximately 2,000 beds being occupied every night in hospitals around the country.