Sinn Féin spokesperson on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing, Thomas Gould TD, has today called on government to respond to Health Research Board (HRB) data showing an 8% increase in problem alcohol use with a budget package that reflects the need in communities.
Teachta Gould said:
“We are seeing these figures increase year-on-year. It is positive that people are recognising when they are having issues with alcohol and taking steps to address this.
“The concerning reality is that the services are often at capacity and people are faced with a postcode lottery in accessing treatment.
“There are evidence-based, targeted solutions available to government that are crying out for resourcing. Community Action on Alcohol have done wonderful work in a number of areas, including in my own constituency in Cork North Central, but they are doing this with little government funding.
“It has now been almost five years since the enactment of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act, but we are still awaiting full implementation of key sections of this important legislation.
“We know that Covid-19 and lockdowns had a huge impact on people’s mental health. For some, this did see the development of problem alcohol consumption behaviours and these people are likely now beginning to recognise the extent of these issues.
“We must ensure that there are supports available across the island for people who need them.
“A Sinn Féin government would invest in localised, community-based and proactive responses to alcohol consumption.
“We would work with experts on the ground to ensure that a fit-for-purpose addiction sector can help to make recovery possible for those engaged in problem behaviour, their families and communities.”