Sinn Féin spokesperson on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing, Thomas Gould TD, has today called on the government to take a report by Alcohol Action Ireland seriously, and begin to properly resource services who provide support to those engaged in harmful drinking.
Teachta Gould said:
“There are approximately 250,000 people in the state engaged in harmful drinking. It is really disappointing that this isn’t cause for greater concern within government.
“Alcohol Action interviewed service providers right across the state. These services provide support to a broad range of people from those using homeless services to ‘high functioning working people with alcohol problems’. All of them identified similar issues.
“This shows that these are serious problems that need to be addressed. The recommendations in the report are reasonable and need to be considered by the Minister.
“It’s 2021 and we do not have a comprehensive alcohol harm strategy. There were over 7,500 treatment episodes for alcohol related harm in 2019, with a further significant number estimated to be seeking help but unable to access it.
“I’ll be meeting with Alcohol Action in the coming weeks to discuss this report further and to talk about how Sinn Féin can support their work. We believe that addressing harm, instead of ignoring it, is the best way forward.
“This is not the first report of its kind in 2021 alone, yet Minister Feighan remains silent on these issues.
“We need innovation, dedication and commitment if we’ve any hope of providing support to the families and people harmed by alcohol in this state.
“For too long now, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have buried their head in the sand on these issues.”