Alcohol Action Ireland has said that treatment facilities and services available for those with alcohol addiction issues are "woefully inadequate" and the issue needs much more focus and investment.

Professor Joe Barry, a public health doctor and Board member of Alcohol Action Ireland, told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that given the scale of the problem, many more people would seek help if facilities existed.

He said that "our fellow citizens would do much better if there was a more widespread service provision across the country".

He said the Health Research Board reports that 250,000 people are alcohol dependent in Ireland and need in-depth help; half of these people are parents of children.

Dr Barry said that the Health Service Executive spends €160m on drug and alcohol services, but he said the majority of this funding is concentrated on illicit drug services.

He said that a mid-term review of the National Substance Misuses and Alcohol Strategy, which is under way, needs to provide a more transparent outline of how much funding is going to alcohol services.

Dr Barry said that attempts to make the alcohol industry pay for damage caused by alcohol products should be revisited.

He said that "you are looking to be ready for people when they are ready to seek help".

Dr Barry said during lockdown many people may have used alcohol as a coping mechanism, when it is a psycho-active substance that causes major difficulties.

He said that that intimate partner violence increased, while people were forced to be together at home, which causes strains.

Dr Barry said that a range of additional facilities are needed from community-based services to residential facilities and standards also need to be monitored.

He said 'tier 2' services also exist to offer brief interventions for those who are not yet alcohol dependent.

Dr Barry said that aftercare is also an issue and a network of services is needed that is "trauma informed" as alcohol abuse usually occurs against a background of major traumas in childhood.