Singer and Senator Frances Black continues to work on the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill - campaigning for cancer warnings to be included on labels of alcoholic drinks and a 9pm cut off time for off-licences and supermarkets.
The well-known performer and politician turned teetotal when she was 28 years old, addressing her dependency on alcohol with a 15-month stint in rehab.
As well as working towards the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, Black has been lobbying for alcoholic products not to be sold casually next to everyday supermarket essentials, like children’s diapers.
The trained addiction counsellor and founder the addiction support network, Rise Foundation, has urged the government to police how alcohol is marketed and sold in the State.
The alcohol industry or any other industry should have no say in public health policy!!Please support the Public Health Alcohol Bill, it saves lives!!#phabsaveslives @AHA_IRL @AlcoholIreland @AlcoholForum @cldatf @drivetimerte https://t.co/TBNTEDlRBz— Frances Black (@frances_black) January 22, 2018
“Over 1,500 beds are taken up every single day with people with alcohol-related issues. It has cost the Exchequer €2.3bn,” the singer told Irish Country Magazine.
“I went into politics to make sure that the bill got through in its entirety. We are not trying to make this a nanny state or to ban alcohol.”
"This is really about simple measures: minimum unit pricing, labels on the bottles showing the calorie content and the cancer risks, and to have product sparation in the shops so that alcohol isn't beside the nappies [diapers] and bread as if it was a grocery item."
Powerful to listen to @frances_black speaking on the Public Health Alcohol Bill.— Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (@AodhanORiordain) December 15, 2017
Influence of lobbyists and special interests on legislation in the face of a public health crisis is deeply disappointing.
She gravely pointed to the statistic that three people in Ireland die everyday from alcohol abuse.
“We want people to know that alcohol is a psychoactive drug. Alcohol plays a role in over 50% of suicides. To argue against this bill is to trivialise that. How do you weigh that up?"
The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill calls for the introduction of minimum unit pricing; structural segregation of alcohol from other products in supermarkets and retail outlets; detailed labelling requirements including health warnings, calorie and alcohol content; and restrictions on advertising and promotions.
The bill is the first endeavor to address alcohol and Irish people’s attitude towards it as a public health matter.
Credit to @SimonHarrisTD for accepting an amendment from @labour & Sen Frances Black requiring that a warning on the link between alcohol & fatal cancers be carried in advertising content as well as on alcohol labels #phabsaveslives— Ged Nash (@geraldnash) December 15, 2017
“Industry has lobbied and lobbied in a hope to delay or stall this process. I am absolutely determined that this Bill will be passed into law,” Health Minister Simon Harris said.