Irish Medical Organisation

IMO: Extension of alcohol licensing laws a ‘regressive and harmful’ move

  • This Government does not have a coherent policy on alcohol’


Wednesday, October 26, 2022.  The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has warned that the extension of alcohol licensing laws was a regressive and harmful move that runs contrary to the Government’s stated goal of reducing alcohol intake by 20%.


Yesterday (Tuesday), cabinet agreed the outline of legislation which would allow pubs to open from 10.30am to 12.30am every day, and for nightclubs to open until 6am. If the legislation is passed by the Oireachtas, the changes may be enacted next year.


The IMO warned that the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 was not being implemented quickly enough, and as a result alcohol consumption had not reduced in line with Government goals.

Key statistics:

  • One in four people attending emergency departments have alcohol-related injuries (source: HSE)
  • Ireland ranks eighth in the world for monthly binge drinking (source: Health Research Board)
  • Four people die from alcohol abuse every day in Ireland (source: Alcohol Action Ireland)

Speaking today, Dr Anne Dee, Chair of the Public Health Committee of the IMO, said that the move was inexplicable in the current climate. “This Government does not have a coherent policy on alcohol. It makes no sense that, on one hand, it is looking to extend alcohol licensing laws while on the other, it is also looking to reduce alcohol consumption by 20%. This move is, at best, not thought through and, at worst, regressive and ultimately harmful.

“Alcohol is an extremely dangerous drug which causes huge amounts of direct and indirect harm every day. There is no justification for extending licensing laws given its harmful impact on people’s health. The last thing we need is to increase people’s exposure to it.”

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