Ann Hope Dip PE, MSc, PhD, Research Associate.
The ebb and flow of attitudes and policies on alcohol in Ireland 2002–2010
Article first published online: 17 MAR 2014
© 2014 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs
Drug and Alcohol Review
Special Issue: Alcohol policy attitudes trends, determinants and implications, Guest Editors: Norman Giesbrecht and Michael Livingston
Volume 33, Issue 3, pages 235–241, May 2014
How to Cite
Hope, A. (2014), The ebb and flow of attitudes and policies on alcohol in Ireland 2002–2010. Drug and Alcohol Review, 33: 235–241. doi: 10.1111/dar.12129
Revised from a paper presented at the Annual Alcohol Epidemiology Symposium of the Kettil Bruun-Society, Kampala, Uganda, 3–7 June 2013.
- Issue published online: 24 APR 2014
- Article first published online: 17 MAR 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 9 FEB 2014
- Manuscript Received: 6 SEP 2013
- Department of Health and Children
- Health Service Executive
- alcohol policy;
- public opinion;
Introduction and Aims
This paper examines the level of public support for alcohol control policies during a period of policy evolution in Ireland.
Design and Methods
A comparison of attitudes to alcohol policy at three points in time was undertaken. The first survey took place in 2002 and was repeated in 2006 and 2010 using a national quota sample of 1000 adults with face-to-face interviews. Policy areas examined were drunk-driving, price, availability and promotion.
In 2002, the highest level of public support was for drink-driving countermeasures (84% favoured random breath testing) and measures to restrict alcohol promotions (67% favoured restrictions). Support for stricter measures on price and availability was lower. Trends showed a decline in support for tax increases and for early closing time, whereas support for fewer outlets (off-trade) increased.
Discussion and Conclusion
When public concerns (level of support) for stricter alcohol policies were seen to be meet, as occurred with price and hours through increased tax and reversal of opening hours, public concern/support declined. When concerns were not met, as with outlets, support continued to rise most likely influenced by greater number of off-trade outlets and cheaper alcohol. Support for liberal alcohol policies was low and the majority favoured the status quo on price and availability. Public support for policy is one element of the complexity of policymaking along with consensus building across government and management of vested interests, so that the policy outcome is seldom assured. [Hope A. The ebb and flow of attitudes and policies on alcohol in Ireland 2002–2010. Drug Alcohol Rev 2014;33:235–241]