first_imgTHE FORMER boss of the health service here in Co Donegal has launched a scathing attack on the Government and the drinks industry over the ‘drink culture’ here.Pat Harvey, Chairman of Alcohol Forum and a former CEO of the North Western Health Board will address a National Alcohol Conference today in Dublin challenging Government, the drinks industry and parents to show leadership on what he described as “Ireland’s harmful drinking epidemic.”“There are only so many forms you can sign, asking the Courts to take a child into care and away from a family before you start to really question the impact harmful drinking is having on this country. These are forms nobody should have to sign, and forms I hope I never have to sign again,” he says. “The problem with our alcohol culture is of epidemic proportions. That’s not being dramatic.”Mr Harvey went on: “Everyone is concerned about the economic legacy and rightly so but it pales into relative insignificance when compared with the harmful drinking legacy we are nurturing. The austerity budgets sought to find €3-€4 billion yet we seem to have overlooked the fact that alcohol-related illness in this country costs €3.7 billion annually.“We would be a much richer country, socially, economically and from a health perspective if we were brave enough to show leadership.”Mr. Harvey directly targeted the drinks industry in his hard-hitting address and called for an “unapologetic” levy on what he described as the “Goliath”. “I don’t buy this argument that drinking levels are solely an individual’s responsibility. The culture we have as a society is all-important. As individuals we are hugely influenced by culture, its values and ‘the way we do things around here’. The drinks industry is a ‘Goliath’ in terms of muscle and funds nurturing a society that has alcohol consumption at dangerous and harmful levels.“What we should be doing is levying the Industry so that it pays generously towards undoing some of the harm associated with harmful drinking. I am only too aware of revenue arguments and the rebalancing this sort of stance will demand of our economy but we have demonstrated in recent times how we can cope with finance rebalancing challenges,” says Mr. Harvey.In relation to the National Alcohol Strategy Mr. Harvey called on Government to make it law “as a matter of urgency.”Mr. Harvey also challenged parents on their drinking and said that teenagers and young adults are often accused of being responsible for the ‘scourge of harmful drinking in Ireland.’However, he challenges parents to ask the question: ‘How does my drinking impact our family?’ In reflecting on this, Mr. Harvey says we have to bear in mind the following findings:1:10 young people (at least) are saying they are suffering emotional distress, neglect, and increased responsibilities as a result of parent drinking patterns – ”childhood was shortened as a result of trying to cope”1:3 of our children are at risk because we drink too much1:7 child welfare concerns revolve around alcohol abuse 1:3 attending Accident and Emergency at weekends is because of too much drink.National Alcohol Awareness Week takes place until Friday 22nd March with events taking throughout the country. For more details log onto or follow the social conversation on facebook and twitter.FORMER DONEGAL HEALTH CHIEF IN STARK WARNING ON ‘DRINK CULTURE’ was last modified: March 19th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:FORMER DONEGAL HEALTH CHIEF IN STARK WARNING ON ‘DRINK CULTURE’last_img

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