The Sale of Alcohol Bill will come at an 'enormous cost' to Irish society, a report has concluded.
The bill is currently being considered by the Oireachtas and could see nightclubs stay open until 6am and allow pubs to continue serving until 12.30am.
Last year, Leo Varadkar predicted such changes would be “good for hospitality businesses, boost the wider experience economy, and generate employment.”
However, a report published today, The Sale of Alcohol Bill (2022): An analysis of costs and benefits by Professor Emeritus Tom Babor, concludes the extension of trading hours will have a negative impact on public health and safety.
“The evidence is that they cause increases in things such as alcohol-related disease, injuries, crime, public disorder, public safety and domestic violence,” Professor Babor said.
“When alcohol consumption becomes the central organising feature, as reflected in the proposed Sale of Alcohol Bill, the social and recreational benefits can come at an enormous cost.”
Chair of Alcohol Action Ireland Professor Frank Murray said 1,500 hospital beds are occupied everyday by patients with alcohol related illnesses and the report was proof the Government is “misguided” in its support for the bill.
“It is in this awful landscape of alcohol harms and deaths, that the Government is planning to increase the availability of alcohol in a misguided effort to stimulate the night-time economy, through significant extensions to opening hours and increases in both the number and type of venues permitting sale of alcohol,” he said.
“Such increases will predictably increase alcohol sales and with that will increase alcohol harms.”
After the bill was signed off by Cabinet, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said the Government had struck the “right balance” between health and the economy.
Main image: Bartender pulling a pint of beer behind the bar.