Reducing alcohol without reducing enjoyment
There is no doubt about the role that the consumption of alcohol plays in the economy of this city. No city could earn the monicker of being a party city, a city that never sleeps, without acknowledging the role that drink plays in the creation of this perception. Just a cursory search of the world Galway in Twitter reveals the number of exchanges hourly that praise Galway for being a place where time gets lost, where today ends and tomorrow begins, inevitably lost in a haze of alcohol and music.
And this perception is used to sell the place. From Volvo to Failte Ireland, the image of Galway being a nocturnal city is one that has served us well. The local economy in Galway city may be extremely fortunate to attract many festivals and other celebrations throughout the year, however there is a downside in that irresponsible alcohol consumption can lead to many problems, not just on health but anti-social incidents creating difficulties for law enforcement.
A major survey aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm and to help develop a government strategy on alcohol has been launched by the Galway Healthy Cities project, in conjunction with the Western Region Drugs Task Force.
A new online survey is being conducted offering the public the opportunity to have their say, to get involved in the discussion and debate, with the result that the information collected will help shape a five-year strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm in Galway city and to develop an official government strategy on alcohol. The Galway Healthy Cities project and its partner agencies, are keen to protect and promote Galway’s nightlife and events while recognising that there are ways to socialise in a safer way.
The group states that the harmful effects of alcohol are well documented and visible, with increased numbers presenting at emergency departments at weekends, increased alcohol related crime, harmful effects on others, and long-term negative health effects such as cancer.
Liam O’Loughlin, community liaison worker, employed by the City of Galway VEC on behalf of the Western Region Drugs Task Force said that there are strategies which can be put in place that are shown to reduce the amount of alcohol-related harm without interfering with anyone’s enjoyment of a night out. We are hoping to enlist enough support from local people and local agencies to implement an appropriate strategy for Galway city.”
If you want to have your say on the future direction of Galway and its approach to alcohol consumption, log onto www.galwayalchoholstrategy.ie and fill in the brief survey.